An Open Letter to the Family of Israeli Airman Ron Arad
On the 19th Anniversary of His Captivity
Esther Pollard - Justice4JP Release - October 16, 2005
J4JP Note: The original copy of this letter was faxed to the Arad Family in Hebrew. Click here to view the Hebrew text in Word format.
Dear Arad Family,
Today marks the 19th anniversary since your beloved brother, father, and son, Ron, was taken captive. It is also one month before my husband, Jonathan Pollard, begins his 21st year of captivity. Please allow us to express our support and to let you know that we empathize with your frustration and anger at the lack of genuine concern for Ron demonstrated by the Government of Israel.
Our loved ones, Ron and Jonathan, were both taken into captivity in the course of their service to the State of Israel: Ron as an IDF pilot; and Jonathan as an agent under the auspices of the Ministry of Defense. They undertook their missions willingly, with the belief that the State would stand by them in their time of need. Unfortunately, the last two decades have shown us all how completely mistaken and divorced from reality this most basic of assumptions was.
Ron and Jonathan were not Palestinian terrorists, nor murderers of Jews; nor were they repugnant drug dealers with family connections to the Prime Minister. Recent history shows that if they had been, the Government of Israel would likely have rushed to their aid.
On the one hand, the heartless abandonment of Ron by the State of Israel has been hidden behind closed doors for nearly two decades, cloaked by the flimsy excuse that no one knows where Ron is held. While on the other hand, the betrayal and abandonment of Jonathan has been perpetrated openly and in full view of the Nation for 20 years, even though everyone knows exactly where Jonathan is held. In both cases,
WE ALL KNOW that if the Government of Israel were to declare that the "peace process" is suspended unconditionally and mean it; that if the Government of Israel were to resolutely demonstrate that ALL negotiations are frozen until Pollard and Arad are returned home, Ron and Jonathan would both be "found" and be on their way home in the blink of an eye.
In January 2004, Israel bought the release of an Israeli drug-dealer, Elchanan Tannenbaum, from Hizbullah terrorists in Lebanon, at the expense of your beloved Ron. In return for Tannebaum's release, Israel freed two prominent terrorist chieftains, Obeid and Durani, which the State claimed it was holding as bargaining chips for the release of Ron Arad.
PM Sharon so desperately wanted (his family friend) Tannenbaum freed that he invoked the "mitzvah of pidyan shvuyim" for this scoundrel --- something he has never done for Ron, an IDF pilot, or for Jonathan, an Israeli agent. Sharon also freed hundreds of Palestinian terrorists in the deal which brought Tannenbaum and the dead bodies of 3 soldiers home. Sharon claimed at the time that there would be a "second round of releases" in which to secure Ron's release; and he insisted that it was okay to give up Obeid and Durani because Israel has "other bargaining chips". Time has shown us what pack of lies that was.
Following meetings between Sharon's chief advisor, Dov Weissglass, and top Palestinian officials, PA Minister of Prisoner Affairs Sufian Abu Zaida recently announced that Israel has agreed to change the status of Palestinian prisoners with blood on their hands. Zaida revealed that Israel is willing to grant POW status to Palestinian murderers of Jews.
With this hocus-pocus change of status, these Palestinian terrorists and murderers will cease being common criminals, and become 'Prisoners of War"- which then obliges Israel to release them. No mention was made of the promised "second round of releases" for Ron Arad. No demand was made for the release of Jonathan Pollard.
With regard to these upcoming prisoner releases, no one even tries to hide the fact that it is American pressure that has precipitated the 'deal'. The fact that US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, when meeting with Israeli Minister of Defense Shaul Mofaz, demanded that Israel free Palestinian murderers with Jewish blood on their hands, has been openly published in the media. In the meantime, Israel has apparently agreed to free only senior murderers -"old-timers," who have served at least 12 years for the murders they committed.
It is both morally repugnant and patently absurd that the release of these murderers is scheduled to take place next month, at about the same time that my husband, Jonathan, enters his 21st year of a life sentence in the US for his activities on behalf of Israel. How can it be that no one, not even a single Israeli government minister, has stood up and shouted:
"It is unconscionable that Israel agree to the US demand to free murderers who have served only 12 years in prison, without first insisting that the US free our agent, Jonathan Pollard, who defended Israel and never murdered anyone ?!!"
There was a time, many years ago, when the basic values of the State of Israel were founded upon the notion of social responsibility. We were known as "A nation which refuses to remain silent and which does not abandon her own." The People of Israel retain these values; to our sorrow, the government does not. Instead, driven by political self-interest, graft and corruption, Israeli government policy towards those who serve the State has become one of expendability: "Use and dispose of."
As time goes on, more and more people tell us that they have finally started to understand just how wantonly the Government of Israel has betrayed Ron, callously abandoning him to his fate.
Israelis tell us that they would never have believed that our government was capable of so heartlessly abandoning Ron Arad, were it not for the fact that they have seen how the government has treated Jonathan Pollard for the last 2 decades.
We cannot, dare not, must not remain silent! It is time for the Nation to speak with one voice and insist that the Government of Israel stop its policy of abandonment and betrayal, and that it do whatever is necessary, what ever it takes, to bring its sons, Ron and Jonathan, home without further delay!
Jonathan asked me to tell you that Ron and you are in our hearts and our prayers today and every day. We both deeply empathize with your plight and pray for Ron's speedy return home.
With love from us both,