Jonathan and the Judge
A Final Chapter in The Pollard Case?
Text of Esther Pollard's Speech at (Y.I.) Beit Knesset Hanassi
September 6, 2006 B"H / 13 Ellul 5766
Jonathan and I would like to extend our profound gratitude to the National
Council of Young Israel, the only Jewish Organization in America devoted to
the Mitzvah of Pidyan Shvuyim, and the only Jewish Organization in America
which has stood by Jonathan and me, throughout this terrible ordeal. Our
thanks as well to the Past President, the President and the Board of
Hanassi (Young Israel) Beit Knesset for inviting me to speak here tonight.
On a sunny winter day, early in the New Year 2006, one of the most historic
meetings we have ever had on this case took place in Jerusalem.
Jonathan and I have never before breathed a word about our meeting with
Israel's State Comptroller, Judge Micha Lindenstrauss. Tonight we would like
to share that experience with you.
For years Jonathan has appealed to one State Comptroller after another to
investigate the Government's mishandling of his case. All his appeals were
rejected with flimsy excuses. Consequently, we had pretty much despaired of
ever getting a hearing. That is why it was so exciting when Israel's newest
State Comptroller, Judge Micha Lindenstrauss, responded positively to our
request for a meeting.
Israel's State Comptroller, also known as the Mivaker HaMidina, has broad
powers of oversight and the right to investigate every government office,
decision and process. No individual or office in this country is exempt from
the Mivaker HaMidina's probe and all are compelled by law to respond to his
questions and provide whatever information is requested.
The ultimate goal of an investigation by the State Comptroller is the
publication of a public report. The report is intended to bring to light
those areas or issues that must be rectified, with a view to improving
Government efficiency; safe-guarding the interests of the public; protecting
the rights of the individual; and eliminating government waste, graft,
corruption, and cronyism.
Our long-awaited meeting with Judge Lindenstrauss took place on February 23,
2006 at the offices of the Mivaker HaMidina. I was accompanied by Larry Dub,
Jonathan's Jerusalem attorney.
As if to underscore the seriousness of the meeting, Judge Lindenstrauss had
invited all of his extended executive staff to attend, the heads of every
State office under his auspices - from the State Ombudsman to the head of
the State Legal Department, about half a dozen people in all.
At the outset of the meeting, I presented Judge Lindenstrauss with a
personal message from Jonathan and then with a file of documented
information regarding the issues that Jonathan wanted to bring to the judge's
Delivering Jonathan's message took about 15 minutes. It removed any doubt
about Jonathan's awareness of the meeting and underscored his deep
appreciation for the Mivaker's willingness to receive us. It was my job for
the next 2 hours to expand on the issues that Jonathan had touched on.
I would like briefly to review for you some of the facts that were presented
to Judge Lindenstrauss.
* My husband, Jonathan Pollard, is an Israeli agent in captivity, currently
completing his 21st year of a life sentence for his service to the security
of The State of Israel.
* The information that Jonathan provided to Israel included Iranian, Iraqi,
Libyan and Syrian nuclear, chemical, and biological warfare capabilities -
all being developed for use against Israel. He also provided information on
ballistic missile development by these countries and information on
up-coming terrorist attacks planned against Israeli civilian targets.
* Israel was legally entitled to this vital security information according
to a 1983 Memorandum of Understanding signed by both countries. But the
information was deliberately being withheld from Israel as the result of an
illegal intelligence embargo implemented by former Secretary of Defense
Caspar Weinberger and former Deputy Director of the CIA Admiral Bobby Ray
Inman, whose pro-Arab tilt did not jibe with declared US foreign policy.
* In the beginning Jonathan volunteered his services and only later did he
became a bona fide agent on behalf of the State of Israel. His zeal to save
Israeli lives was his sole motivation. Even the sentencing judge - who was
no friend of the case - recognized that Jonathan was an ideologue, not a
mercenary, and therefore declined to impose a monetary fine.
* From the time that Jonathan was first arrested in 1985, Israel denied all
ties to him, and cooperated fully with the American prosecution to secure a
life sentence for him.
* For its own shameful reasons the American Jewish leadership endorsed and
perpetuated Israel's lies. On March 10, 1987 - six days after my husband was
sentenced to Life in complete violation of a plea agreement which Jonathan
honored and the US abrogated - the Conference of President of Major Jewish
Organizations sent a letter to the US State Department promising never to
interfere on his behalf. The Conference has kept that promise with religious
zeal. (A copy of their letter appears on our web site. )
* Despite the passage of 21 years and innumerable opportunities, Israel's
lies continue to govern this case, and effectively to keep Jonathan in
* Israel cravenly handed over to the US all of the evidence that was used
against Jonathan. Without this evidence, the US had no case, and would have
been forced to set him free.
* In betraying Jonathan and by handing over the evidence, Israel earned for
itself the dishonorable distinction of becoming the first and only country
in the history of modern espionage ever to assist in the indictment and
prosecution of its own agent!
* Israel paid the lawyer who secured a life sentence for Jonathan, without
benefit of trial. The median sentence for the offense Jonathan had committed
was 2 to 4 year sentence - not Life!
* This was the same lawyer, paid by the Government of Israel, who failed to
file a simple Notice of Intent to Appeal, forever depriving Jonathan of his
right to appeal his Life sentence.
* By contrast, to this day Israel has steadfastly refused to pay a cent to
the lawyers who, unlike the above-mentioned lawyer, are trying to help
Jonathan to secure his release from prison.
* Even though Jonathan fought and succeeded in forcing the State of Israel
to officially acknowledge him as her agent, the State's attitude towards him
and its resolute abandonment of him has not changed at all in 21 years.
* The State of Israel has never taken the most minimal steps - legal, moral,
or diplomatic to secure Jonathan's release.
* To this day, Israel has never officially informed the White House, the
Justice, Intelligence or State Departments that Jonathan is an Israeli agent
and that Israel intends to seek his release. Consequently the American
Justice Department continues to regard him only as a common criminal, not as
an Israeli agent, and to treat him accordingly.
* To this day the State of Israel has never sought the assistance of
American congressmen or senators on Jonathan's case, and for 2 decades it
has calculatedly avoided engaging AIPAC or any other effective lobby
organization on his behalf.
* In 21 years Israel has never done any hasbara for the public in Israel or
in the US to explain its position on Jonathan's case or to promote his
release - as it routinely does to explain every other matter of importance
to the State.
* For 21 years, the State of Israel has deliberately attempted to prevent
the Israeli public from knowing about Jonathan. A good indicator of the
Government's attitude towards Jonathan is reflected in the Ministry of
Education's refusal to include his plight in the regular school curriculum.
The Ministry of Education Library and Archives (which teachers use for
research) contains absolutely no information whatsoever about Jonathan! Not
a single reference!
* When Jonathan's former handler, Rafi Eitan, ran for Knesset earlier this
year, it put the lie to the Government's long-standing claim that pressing
for Jonathan's release might somehow damage Israel's relationship with the
US. Indeed the Government of Israel demonstrated no compunction whatsoever
about possible damage to US-Israel relations or to Jonathan's situation when
immediately upon his election, it appointed Rafi Eitan as a minister
* The Government's appointment of Eitan as minister was done with the full
knowledge that the Americans regard Eitan as an unindicted co-conspirator in
the affair and that he had played a key role in the betrayal of Jonathan
Pollard, even providing false testimony to the Americans which had doomed
* From the time Jonathan was first arrested, the only consistent "plan"
Israel has ever had for his release is to bring him home in a coffin. This
fact has been confirmed for us over and over again for the last 21 years by
various officials and events.
* Jonathan miraculously survived the first 7 years of his incarceration in
solitary confinement, in barbaric conditions in a dungeon cell 3 stories
underground at USP Marion and then waged his own battle - without any help
from the State of Israel - to be moved to open population at FCI Butner.
* Just shortly after his move to FCI Butner in the spring of 1993, Israel
sent a Mossad agent to Jonathan on official business. Instead of presenting
Jonathan with a plan for securing his release, the Mossad agent came armed
with an official request that Jonathan kill himself. "Committing suicide,"
Jonathan was informed, would "solve the Pollard problem" for the State of
* The Israeli policy which wants to bring Jonathan Pollard home in a coffin,
G-d forbid, continues to this day, and illuminates the Israeli Government's
calculated consistency in missing every opportunity to secure Jonathan's
* Instead, successive Governments of Israel have routinely exploited
Jonathan's name and his plight, using it as a sweetener to sell unpopular
unilateral concessions to the Israeli public. But when crunch time comes,
Jonathan is always dropped from every deal and painful unilateral
concessions to the enemy are made regardless. (Some examples include the
Hebron Accords, the Wye Accords, and most recently the Disengagement from
Gaza and northern Samaria).
* In Washington it is an open secret that Jonathan's sentence is grossly
disproportionate and purely political. This was confirmed in a 2002
interview with former Secretary of Defense, the late Caspar Weinberger.
Weinberger openly admitted that Jonathan's case was a "minor matter" that
had been exaggerated out of all proportion to serve another political
agenda. The opening that this admission created to secure Jonathan's release
was totally ignored.
* Similarly Dennis Ross, the former US Special Envoy to the Middle East,
stated in his book "The Missing Peace" (published in 2004) that Jonathan
deserves to be freed unconditionally. Nevertheless, writes Ross, Pollard is
far too valuable as a bargaining chip against Israel, so he advised the
president at Wye not to release him. Still no response from Israel.
* In point of fact, Israel has already "paid" for Jonathan's release several
times over (including freeing 750 murderers and terrorists with blood on
their hands as part of the Wye Accords), but has never bothered to collect
* In the 21 years that Jonathan has been in prison, he has repeatedly been
subjected to cruel and unusual punishment and severe affliction. The
Government of Israel has been informed of each and every episode of
mistreatment of its agent but has never once intervened on his behalf, nor
has the Government ever protested.
* Jonathan's first court appearance in the US in 2 decades took place in the
year 2003. Israel did not even bother to send a representative. Instead, on
the eve of Jonathan's court hearing, Israel's consular representative in New
York who was given the task of officially responding to the media, slandered
Jonathan on American national television thus sending a clear message to the
judge that Jonathan is "hefker" and that no one in Israel cares what is done
* Israel's intent never to bring Jonathan home alive, is reflected in the
immoral and mean-spirited way that the State relates to me, his wife.
* As the wife of an Israeli agent, the fact that I remain homeless and
penniless speaks volumes about the State's attitude towards Jonathan.
* Compare this with the case of an Israeli drug dealer, a family friend of a
Prime Minister, who was taken captive while pursuing his own illicit
interests, and not in the service of the State. Both his wife and his
mistress and their two respective families received full support for the
duration of his captivity. I on the other hand, receive no help whatsoever
and am dependent for my survival on the kindness of a few friends.
* Moreover, I am cancer survivor. I have no medical insurance and I receive
no medical assistance whatsoever from the State of Israel. In fact, when I
recently tried to buy basic medical coverage on my own, I was rejected by
Kupat Cholim. The manner in which I was rejected strongly suggested that
they were fearful that accepting Pollard's wife might somehow jeopardize the
Kupah's government funding.
* Compare this also with the Government's recent gesture to the citizens of
Lebanon offering them free medical treatment in Israel in spite of their
possible participation in the recent war against Israel. An enemy alien can
receive medical assistance in Israel, but the wife of an Israeli agent in
* Worse still, the Government brazenly lies to the Supreme Court and to the
Israeli public when it repeatedly claims to be supporting Jonathan and me
financially. We presented documented proof to Judge Lindenstrauss that in 21
years, neither Jonathan nor I have ever received a cent from the Government
* The bottom line is that for 21 years, the State of Israel has stubbornly
denied granting Jonathan any status that would bring him or his wife any
assistance, or relief, or the possibility of securing his release.
* Even though Jonathan fought for and obtained official recognition as an
agent, his name does not appear on the Ministry of Defense's list of
captives, thus depriving him of all of his rights as an agent in captivity.
* The State also refuses to grant him status as a Prisoner of Zion, again
depriving him of any rights that might accrue and, more importantly,
depriving him of the protections this status would afford him.
* By denying Jonathan status within the official framework governed by the
Ministry of Defense (as a Shavui); or by the Internal Affairs Ministry (as a
PoZ); the State of Israel has relegated Jonathan to the status of a person
who does not officially exist and who therefore, can effectively be ignored
These facts and documented information were presented to the Mivaker
HaMidina, Judge Micha Lindenstrauss, on that fateful day in February when
after years and years of waiting, a new State Comptroller received us and
seemed to embrace the case.
The meeting was a great success! It had originally been scheduled to last 1
hour, but went on for some 2 ½ hours before it was reluctantly concluded --
and even then, only because we all had other commitments. I went straight
from the meeting with the Mivaker HaMidina, to report personally to Jonathan's
rav, HaRav Mordecai Eliyahu, shlita. He was as delighted as we were with the
reception and the commitment we had received from the Mivaker. He and all of
our closest associates were especially buoyed to hear about the warm wishes
and blessings we received from Judge Lindenstrauss and his executive staff.
I remember one of the last things that I said to Judge Lindenstrauss before
saying good-bye. I told him, "We do not expect you to secure Jonathan's
release, but your investigation may be an important part of the process of
bringing it about. Your public report has the potential to shine a light on
this case that has never been shone, and in that way to be a catalyst for
Jonathan's freedom. But, even if your report results in no direct advantage
for Jonathan, it must be written in order to ensure that what happened to
Jonathan never ever again happens to anyone else who serves the State of
Judge Lindenstrauss seemed to understand; he responded warmly and
reassuringly, and promised to investigate. He promised that he and his staff
would stay in touch and would contact us if they needed any further
information. We were deeply touched by his words of support and
encouragement; and by his and his executive staff's warmth and enthusiasm.
That was six months ago.
On August 17th, Jonathan used up a week's worth of his precious telephone
minutes to dictate a personal letter to Judge Lindenstrauss. In it Jonathan
reiterated the facts that I have shared with you tonight, and he added:
"[Judge Lindenstrauss] with the exception of a brief message we received in
March of this year (5 ½ months ago) from one of your staff, saying that
you are investigating, there has not been a word from you or your office
since then. My situation in the meantime only continues to deteriorate.
Every day that I survive is a complete miracle..May we know the status of
your investigation, and when you anticipate publishing your findings. Yours
truly, Jonathan Pollard."
A few days later, on August 23rd Jonathan and I received a reply. The very
brief response was signed by the "Senior Assistant to the State Comptroller
and International Liaison" and echoed virtually the same unmistakable
message we have gotten from Israeli Government officials for the last 21
years: The matter is being handled. Don't call us; we'll call you.
I am sharing this with you tonight, because it is anecdotally representative
of the last 21 years that Jonathan has been slowly bleeding to death in
prison, in full view of the State of Israel and its elected and appointed
officials, and in full view of the Jewish People.
Why does it matter that my husband continues to languish in prison after 21
years in some of the harshest of conditions?
Why should the fate of one individual be of concern to anyone - especially
when so much time has passed, and there are now seemingly "more pressing
problems" such as the impending threat of another outbreak of war, and the
fate of Israel's 3 latest captive soldiers?
It matters because the fate of my husband, Jonathan Pollard, is the miner's
canary of the moral health and welfare of the People of Israel. A State
that first betrays and then abandons its own agent for more than 2 decades
and then relegates him to the dustbin of history while it moves on to other
exploits is a State that is morally bankrupt. And a State that is morally
bankrupt will not be able to fulfill its People's highest national
aspirations, nor will it ever be capable of commanding the kind of moral
resolve needed to bring its captives home.
As Jonathan himself recently wrote in a letter to the families of the 3
newly captive soldiers:
".fighting for the return of a captive requires a moral basis. It requires a
commitment to G-d, country and fellow man. It requires the kind of morality
that the State of Israel no longer seems to have. When there is no moral
basis for the return of a captive, there is of course no moral resolve, no
determination to succeed, and as result no effective action is taken. This
creates a vacuum which the politicians love to fill with empty words and
While we cannot say with certainty when the State of Israel became detached
from its moral roots and the People from our commitment to each other, we do
know that the moral decay was there 21 years ago when Jonathan was thrown
out of the Israeli Embassy in Washington and into the waiting arms of the
That moral failure, that on-going sin against a loyal son of Israel who
served the State and its People, has gone unchallenged and unrepaired for 21
years. It hangs like a curse over the Nation. It spawned the abandonment of
Ron Arad, Zachary Baummel, Tzvi Feldman, Yehuda Katz, and Guy Hever. It bred
the callous abandonment of Mudhat Yosuf who was wounded on the field of
battle and left to bleed to death at Kever Yosef in Shchem.
It is the same moral failure that conceived and implemented the inhumane
expulsion and destruction of Gush Katif and northern Samaria; and more
recently facilitated the abandonment of all of the citizens of northern
Israel. It is the same moral failure which has given birth to a culture of
empty words and broken promises which subsequent Governments of Israel have
perfected to a high art.
It is the same moral failure that now also threatens the lives of Gilead
Shalit, Eldad Regev, and Ehud Goldwasser.
As long as we allow Jonathan to continue to rot in prison, and we act as if
his fate is of no consequence to us, the poison will continue to seep into
our national consciousness and continue to destroy the fabric of our society
as a moral and just People, as a Light unto the Nations.
As long as we do not rectify the problem at its root by bringing Jonathan
home, this culture of abandonment will continue its relentless march onward,
as the government openly plans for the next round of uprooting, betrayal and
abandonment of its loyal citizens and communities.
You may have come here tonight to be entertained, or because the subject was
of interest, or you may have come because you always come when there is a
program at Beit Knesset Hanassi. But, if my message has reached your heart,
you must leave here tonight knowing that each of us owes a debt of gratitude
to Jonathan Pollard and that each of us bears a personal responsibility for
Redemption of Israel's longest-held captive, Jonathan Pollard, cannot help
but lead to redemption for all of Israel and for all of her captives, for it
lies at the heart of the matter. No one person alone can save Jonathan, but
each of us has something to contribute. Not a single person is exempt from
doing whatever he or she can - be it prayer both public and private, or
hanging Pollard balcony banners, or participating in activities to raise the
public profile of the case, or contributing to activities of
The Committee to Bring Jonathan Pollard Home (they are the only group in
Israel totally coordinated with Jonathan) or supporting the National Council
of Young Israel's deeply appreciated efforts to assist Jonathan with his
needs in prison. Even at this late date, I urge you all to become involved,
as much for your own sakes as for that of Jonathan and the Nation.
As Jonathan writes in his letter to the families of the captive soldiers,
"We cannot, we must not allow this culture of abandonment to go on! The
People of Israel must find the emotional strength to return to the path of
arevut hadaddeet (mutual responsibility). We must rekindle and recapture our
strength as nation that stands united. [and as a nation that has] at its
root, the moral resolve necessary to be utterly committed to not
surrendering to evil, and to absolutely never abandoning a brother in time
of trouble. If we can do this, and I believe we can, then we may once again
be worthy of the blessing of Heaven - as we were at Entebbe- and be worthy
of the swift return home of all of Zion's prisoners. "
May G-d bless us all, and may we soon see the speedy release of Jonathan
Gilad, Eldad and Ehud, along with all of Israel's captives and MIA's! Amain!
For additional information see also:
The Facts Page http://www.jonathanpollard.org/facts.htm
The Information Page http://www.jonathanpollard.org/info.htm
The Wye Double-Cross Page http://www.jonathanpollard.org/wye.htm
FOIA Document: Conference of President's Letter to US State Dept
What No One Wants to Talk About (Re: Israel's failure to lobby at all for
Caspar's Ghost - (Interview with Weinberger admission that Pollard case was
exaggerated out of all proportion)- by Edwin Black
Excerpts From "The Missing Piece" by Dennis Ross
Terror in the US and The Jonathan Pollard Case
The Clemency Page http://www.jonathanpollard.org/clemency.htm
The Bagatz Page http://www.jonathanpollard.org/petition.htm
Jonathan Pollard's Letter to the Families of the Captive Soldiers