Chief Rabbi of Haifa Calls on Bush to Free Pollard


: Rabbi Shear Yashuv Cohen, Chief Rabbi of Haifa


: Mr. George Bush, President Of The United States

March 7, 1991

Dear Mr. President:

I would deeply appreciate your kind attention to the following:

I regard myself as a devoted friend of the U.S.A. and an ardent supporter of your administration's historic role in maintaining a world of law and order.

Being married to a third generation American- born citizen, I've learned to love the American way of life and to admire your people's great spirit and its roots in biblical and religious tradition. I sincerely believe that this heritage inspired the founding fathers of the nation and indeed made America the great fortress of freedom which thank G-d it still continues to be.

May I take this means of congratulating you Mr. President for the leadership, vision and courage you have shown in leading your people and the entire free world through the recent crisis to such a decisive victory. You have certainly emerged as a great leader whose name shall be inscribed in golden letters on the annals of world history.

Because that is the way I feel about you and your great country, I take the liberty of writing you about a subject which pains me very much.

I sincerely regard it as my religious duty to draw your attention to the suffering of an American citizen, Mr. Jonathan Pollard who was sentenced for life in prison.

There can be no doubt that Mr. Pollard has committed a very serious transgression of law for which he has already paid and is still paying a very dear price. It is also crystal clear, now after the Iraqi war, that his motive was a noble one and that he felt that it was his moral duty to save his people and the State of Israel from a tragic fate.

Furthermore, it seems to me that actually he did not cause any serious damage to the U.S.A.

May I draw your attention, Mr. President to a letter Mr. Pollard sent his Rabbi already in 1989 which was published this month in the Wall Street Journal. This was indeed a private letter and it seems that Mr. Pollard had then no idea that it's ever going to be published.

Mr. Pollard states that the documents he had indeed transferred to Israel contained detailed information on the chemical, biological and other non-conventional warfare plants in Iraq.

One sentence in his letter moved me to tears. He wrote: "I felt I could not keep quiet and close my eyes, because doing so I would have behaved like those Americans and others who preferred to ignore the terrible Holocaust during the second world war. I would rather rot in prison than sit "shiva" (seven days of mourning according to the Jewish tradition) mourning the death of hundreds of thousands of Israelis who would have died because of my fear to reveal the truth."

It is my sincere feeling, Mr. President, that now with the end of the Iraqi war the time has come to consider the granting of a pardon to Mr. Pollard even if it has to be with a clear understanding that he leaves the U.S.A. and comes to live here in Israel.

I do not know the technical details of the legal procedure involved in carrying out this act of mercy but I am sure a way can and should be found.

I hope and pray that G-d give you the courage, vision and greatness of heart to find your way clear to grant this request. I know many millions of Israelis and Jews the world over join me in this request and eagerly await your positive answer.

With kindest personal regards and esteem, I remain,

Sincerely Yours,

Rabbi Shear-Yashuv Cohen
Chief Rabbi Of Haifa, Israel