07 February 2008

"The Nation is with you Jonathan"

By Rav Shlomo Aviner
Makor Rishon - February 8, 2008
(Translated to English by J4JP)

We must repent for the terrible sin of ignoring our brother, Jonathan Pollard. Even though we have done a lot and tried very hard, all to no avail, that does not mean that this is a lost cause. All it means is that we have to try harder and do more.

Jonathan Pollard has been languishing in prison for 23 years! He is there because he sacrificed himself for us. When he learned that the Nation which dwells in Zion was in danger, he did not take his own personal life into account, but rushed to save us. Important Jews in America, masters of dual loyalty, pour out their resentment upon him for having the audacity to embarrass them. Pollard responds: "Did you expect me to remain silent and to repeat the terrible sin we committed during the holocaust when our brothers were being murdered and we thought only of ourselves? Had I remained silent and failed to try to save my brothers, I would have been guilty of repeating the same monstrous sin."

Just as Pollard sacrificed himself for us and is paying dearly; it is now up to us to sacrifice ourselves for him.

There are notable people in our country who very much appreciate Jonathan but who claim that we have more important problems - economic issues, national security issues - and we need American assistance with our military needs, so we should not annoy them and certainly should not press them. In short Jonathan may be worthy, but other things are more worthwhile.

This is not right! Whoever forgets Jonathan Pollard understands nothing about what it means to be a sovereign State; what it means to be a nation; nor the meaning of the return to Zion and the building of the Land. Such a person is ignorant of the fact that there are cases where a single sin outweighs millions of mitzvahs, and cases where a single mitzvah outweighs millions of sins. (The Rambam - Hilchot Tshuva 3:2). To save one man, who himself savedhundreds of thousands of people or more, including those now reading these lines, is to save an entire nation.

Jonathan Pollard is not a private person. He is our business. Kol Yisrael Arevim Zeh L'Zeh. All of Israel are responsible for each other.

If we had the power to do so, we ought to arm ourselves and go to America to release him. This is how Avraham Avinu acted when he learned that our brother Lot was taken captive - even though Lot was no saint. Avraham enlisted all of his men and went to war against against 4 Kings. This is the way Moshe Rabbeinu acted. When the King of Arad came and took a captive from us (Bamidbar 21:1) - a single handmaiden (Rashi), and not a national hero like Jonathan - Moshe Rabbeinu went to war to release her. David HaMelech also acted in this way to free his wives who were held captive in Tzaklag. Avraham, David and Moshe. Their intials (Aleph, Dalet, Mem) spell the word ADAM (person or human being). Whoever does not understand this, is not a human being. Rather, such a person is politician in the worst sense of the word, taking care of fleeting interests of the moment, while forgetting that entire empires have crumbled and fell as a result of their failure to act in a morally appropriate manner.

At the moment, it is not on the agenda to enlist an army to free Jonathan, but what ought to be on the agenda is to say to the Americans: "As long as Pollard is still there, we will have nothing to do with you. We will not speak with you. For us, you do not exist."

This is what David HaMelech did, after a difficult civil war of Jew against Jew. Wisdom finally prevailed and the nation appointed one King over all of us for the first time. However, this one King responded, "Michal, my wife! If Michal, my wife, is in captivity, there is nothing to talk to me about!" Of course, they said to him: "Does the fate of the entire nation hang in the balance, The Jewish People, Jewish Sovereignty, and the State of Israel- because of the fate of one woman?" Yes! Because if David were capable of forgetting his wife, Michal, he would not be worthy of being King. He would not be worthy of being considered a human being.

Whoever forgets Jonathan Pollard is not a human being. Our failure to free Jonathan is undermining the moral foundations of our country.

Therefore we do not beg and plead before the Americans; we demand. We are not beggars. We are a sovereign State, and an important country. This is not the first time we have told the Americans, "No!" In our days, they threatened our Prime Minister, Mrs .Golda Meir, "If you do not support the Rogers Plan and give up chunks of the Land of Israel, we will not supply you with weapons to defend yourself." She replied, "Nichyeh v'nireh! - We will live, and we will see!" This is national strength!

We do not beg. We demand and we inform: "Jonathan is ours; give him back to us. You don't care about him; you threw him into a pit. We do care about him. He is our brother. We want him home to be a leader and minister in Israel."

We must declare, just as our Nation did in days of old when they redeemed Jonathan: "Shall Jonathan who has wrought this great salvation in Israel die?... Heaven forbid! Not a hair on his head shall be harmed!" (Samuel I:14:45).

Let us be strong and be strengthened; the Nation is with you Jonathan!

(Source: http://www.jonathanpollard.org/2008/020808.htm )


  1. Well said, and point taken. I'll IY"H BL"N try to do more.
    With elections coming up in November, future presidents may want to gain votes by promising a pardon or commutation. Whether they can be believed or not is another story, but if a candidate promises one, they've got my vote. IY"H, Bush will pardon him before then.
    There was a call-the-white-house campaign about 4-5 monts ago, sanctioned by very prominent rabbis to free Pollard, but I haven't heard much about it lately though.

  2. Thank you, Yaak, but keep in mind that his release is not dependent on a particular president. Hashem forced Paro to let us go and he can (and likely will) force Bush to let Jonathan go. HaRav Mordechai Eliyahu said that the redemption of the captive Jonathan Pollard would be our redemption, too!

    Disclaimer: No one should misconstrue the posting of this article as any endorsement of Rav Aviner.