13 April 2011

In the Final Analysis...

9 Nisan 5771

(Final excerpt from the book Territory of Lies by Wolf Blitzer)

...Just before his graduation in the spring of 1972, Jay was named the outstanding senior Social Studies student at Riley High School. …he made the National Honor Society; and as a result of his awards, test scores, grades and extracurricular activities, he was accepted at Stanford University in Palo Alto, California.

…[A former classmate who] studied with Pollard at Stanford said he had “trashed” his mid-term exams in the fall of 1973 when the Yom Kippur War broke out.

…Pollard described those days during the war as a real crisis in his life. “It was one of the most frustrating experiences for me because I basically wanted to pick up at that point and go there,” he said. “I was a sophomore. I felt guilty over not being there.” But he managed to get only as far as the Los Angeles Airport. “Unlike the experiences of 1967,” he said, “all we kept hearing on the news was how precarious the margin of Israeli success was and that the casualty lists were growing to alarming heights. A call for volunteers went out to permit able-bodied men to be transferred from kibbutzim to the fronts, but the group I was in spent five frustrating days waiting for an ElAl flight in Los Angeles before we were told the need for us had passed with [Gen. Ariel] Sharon’s crossing of the Suez. Although we had won after all, the price had been appalling and I had spent the whole time sitting in an airport terminal 15,000 miles from Israel, unable to do anything more than think.

“It was during that vigil,” he added, “that I decided the intelligence field would provide me with a skill which would be well received in Israel once I immigrated. Like Colonel
[Mickey] Marcus, I was ready to serve the United States faithfully and then, once I had contributed something to the national defense effort, leave for Israel.

“The problem with long-range plans is that they very often are overtaken and invalidated by unanticipated events. In my case, I quite simply began to enjoy living in the United States and could almost admit that perhaps I would stay here after all.

“…Intellectually, at least, I realized that the same effort I expended to fight the Russians would also indirectly assist Israel.”

Still, he was very much aware of his inner torment. “I was utterly lost emotionally since I had prepared myself for so long to emigrate that the thought of remaining and never committing myself physically to the state was incredibly traumatic. So, I continued to be in a moral dilemma as to what I should do to help Israel directly.”

His parents continued to discourage him from making aliyah. “’Don’t,’” he quoted them as having said. “’You’ll be worth more to the state if you get your education, get a career started here, and then come to the state with something useful’----which, by the way, was on the one hand very responsible. On the other hand, it was a little selfish in keeping me here. But, it was certainly motivated by what I consider to be good sound advice both for Israel and for myself.”

He reluctantly accepted their advice. “I guess it was just a materialistic rejection on my part. You know, it’s very easy for people who come from totalitarian societies to make aliyah. They have no alternative. But for those of us who live in the West, it’s a voluntary act which is very difficult. The bonds of materialism can be very addictive---more so perhaps than we Jews would like to admit. Never really being all that materialistic---the stereotypes notwithstanding---this emotionalism, this very need to go on aliyah started picking at me.”

Carol, his sister, thought that he also could not leave because he was simply too attached to his family. “He may have wanted to go, but remember, you’re talking about someone who is very close to his family and to have your whole family over here and he’s over there….”

He constantly tried to encourage her to visit Israel. “’Carol’” she quoted him as saying, “’you’ll love it there. You’ll come over there. You’ll see what it’s like.’”

With hindsight, Carol added sadly, she could see that Jay would have been better off moving to Israel after finishing Stanford. “I think a lot about that.”

And the rest, as they say, is history.

According to the Blitzer book, seventy-five members of Jonathan Pollard’s family were murdered in the Holocaust. He had visited Dachau with his family and like many Jews of his generation, he strongly believed that Israel was all that stood between Diaspora Jews and another potential Holocaust.

(Excerpt from the book Pollard: The Spy’s Story by Bernard R. Henderson)

“…when I walked through Yad Vashem [on a final trip to Israel in 1985] …I was able to look into those countless lost faces staring out of the faded pictures and know, for once, that I had kept faith with them. Nobody will convince me that I had to become a traitor in order to feel that way. With my eyes shut and not fully aware of the consequences, I entered the territory of lies without a passport for return.”

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