Statement of Esther and Jonathan Pollard
Re: Court's Rejection of Pollard's PoZ Petition
Justice4JP Release - January 16, 2006
The circle of betrayal is complete. The betrayal of Jonathan Pollard by the Government of Israel, by the Ministry of Defense, and by the Knesset has now been officially rubber-stamped by the High Court of Justice.
Esther and Jonathan Pollard are deeply disappointed by the decision rendered by the High Court of Justice of Israel denying Jonathan's petition to officially recognize him as a Prisoner of Zion.
History will not need to judge whether or not Jonathan Pollard is a Prisoner of Zion; but it will certainly judge how the High Court of Justice treated Pollard. It is clear to every single Israeli with a heart and a sense of justice, that Jonathan Pollard has served the State of Israel for 21 years; that he is a Prisoner of Zion; and that he certainly deserved better than this from the country he served. Even the Prisoners of Zion themselves, through their official Organization, have recognized Jonathan and officially count him as one of their own.
The Pollards are dismayed by the court's written decision which memorializes deeply damaging Government lies, without a shred of evidence! The written decision falsely claims that the Government of Israel is financially supporting Jonathan Pollard and his wife, paying for his attorneys, and generally taking care of the couple. Every claim is a complete and utter falsehood. In official documents held by the Pollards, the Government has repeatedly admitted that the Pollards are not receiving (nor they have they ever received) any financial support from the Government of Israel. The Pollards live in abject penury, dependent on the kindness of a few friends to survive. None of Pollard's attorneys, in the US or in Israel, has been paid for work on his behalf.
The Pollards deplore the court's suggestion that the government invent a "symbolic status" for him. In its written decision, the Court facetiously suggested that the Government come up with some new "symbolic status" for Jonathan Pollard, one that would not oblige it in any way. The Court ought to have reminded the Government that Mr. Pollard is officially recognized as an Israeli Agent and that it is high time that the Government of Israel discharge its obligations to him as such; and not help the Government invent new ways to duck its responsibility to him.
The Pollards are shocked by the sophistry the court used to deny Jonathan's petition. The Court's written decision claims that Pollard, an official Israeli agent, who spied for Israel cannot be granted Prisoner of Zion Status because he was not arrested as a Jew; and because espionage is a felony, not a Zionist activity. It further states that only one who is arrested as a Jew for an activity which encourages Aliyah, but which is considered illegal in the country of arrest, can be considered a Prisoner of Zion. This flies in the face of historical precedent and fact.
Israel's best known Prisoner of Zion, former cabinet minister Natan Sharansky is a convicted spy and felon. Sharanksy was arrested, indicted, convicted and incarcerated in the Soviet Union on charges of spying for the US. Yet he is recognized by the State of Israel as a Prisoner of Zion.
So too MK Yuli Edelstein and Rabbi Yosef Mendelevitch. Both Edelstein and Mendelevitch are felons convicted of serious crimes in the USSR. Mendelevitch was convicted of conspiracy to hijack an aircraft and fly it to Israel! Yet these "convicted felons" are recognized by the State of Israel as Prisoners of Zion.
Just like Jonathan Pollard, neither nor Edelstein nor Mendelevitch was arrested as a Jew. They were arrested for the crimes they were indicted for in the Soviet Union --- crimes that had absolutely nothing to do with encouraging Aliyah!
The Court essentially dismissed the sacrifice of such great heroes of Zionism as Eli Cohen, Chana Senesh and Sarah Abramson, in virtually ruling that espionage on behalf of the State of Israel - for its protection, defense and its very existence - is criminal, not Zionist. A great disservice was done to Israel's intelligence community and to its recruitment services by this judgment.
The Court simply turned a blind eye to Jonathan Pollard's documented claims of harsh treatment and abuse and to the anti-Semitic nature of his life sentence. It demonstrated a complete unwillingness to extend the same consideration to him that the Government of Israel routinely extends to murderers and terrorists -- which it is now poised to extend to multiple murderers Marwan Barghouti and Samir Kuntar -- treating them as Prisoners of War, in order to free them.
But the High Court of Israel could not find it in its heart to grant Jonathan Pollard the status of Prisoner of Zion, to which he is fully entitled, not even to save the life of an Israeli agent. Justice has not been served.