by Hillel Fendel
(Israelnationalnews.com) Today, the 8th day of the Hebrew month of Kislev, marks 24 years since Jonathan Pollard was put behind bars for having sent Israel crucial information that the US was illegally withholding.
Several activities have been held to mark the occasion, such as the publication of past articles and a letter-writing campaign, but Pollard supporters lament that much more could have been expected. As Nissan Ganor, head of the Jerusalem-based Committee to Bring Jonathan Pollard Home, has written:
â€œWhere is the prime minister of Israel?… Where are the Knesset Membersâ€¦? Where are the American Jewish leaders? Where is the average person? Jewish silence does not behoove us in the face of such outright anti-Semitic targeting. It is incumbent upon all honest persons of every faith to stand up and be counted. Prayers are not enough. Your voice is needed in calling leaders both here in Israel and the U.S. to take responsibility.â€
Jonathanâ€™s wife Esther has asked publicly:
â€œWhere are Jewish social action committees, Jewish lobbyists and Jewish lobby groups? The Conference of Presidents, for example can open doors on Capitol Hillâ€¦ Where are the bold opinion-makers – the A.M. Rosenthals, the Charles Krauthammers, the Richard Cohens, the William Kristols and the Cal Thomases – to sound the alarm about the gross injustice of this case?â€
Rabbi Pesach Lerner, a frequent visitor to Pollard and a busy activist on his behalf, asked in a media interview with Hamodia:
“Where are the rallies, massive phone campaigns [and] prayer gatherings that the mitzva of pidyon shevuyim [redeeming captives] demands of us? Jonathan asks me why he is not the subject of discussion at conferences or in the classrooms.â€
The Justice for Jonathan Pollard organization asks that the public, both children and adults, write to him in prison. Letters from the outside are â€œhis lifelineâ€ and â€œoxygen,â€ the site says, as well as â€œhis reassurance that people on the outside care very deeplyâ€¦ He often remarks to his wife, Esther, how very much he enjoys the letters and how varied they are. The letters contain stories, anecdotes, prayers, and personal life experiences. Some people write of how they much are praying for Jonathan, others recount personal problems so severe that Jonathan is now praying for them (along with all of his prayers for Am Yisrael).â€
The letters may not include enclosures such as stamps, gum, glitter, stickers, money, or the like, although up to five photos are permitted. Letters in Hebrew are shown to him only briefly and then discarded. He is generally not able to respond in writing, but he does receive all of his incoming mail. â€œEspecially now at this critical moment, as Jonathan enters his 25th year in captivity, please keep writing!â€ his supporters ask.
The address is:
Jonathan Pollard #09185-016
c/o FCI Butner
P.O. Box 1000
Butner, NC — U.S.A. 27509-1000
Pollard received his life sentence without a trial, as a result of a plea bargain which he honored, but which the U.S. government violated by implying that a very heavy sentence would be desired. The median sentence for the offense Pollard committed – one count of passing classified information to an ally – is 2-4 years. Other American spies have received much lighter sentences for much heavier crimes; see chart here.
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