Hebron-Past, Present and Forever

By David Wilder
The Jewish Community of Hebron

A Mission of Truth, Strength and Faith

January 17, 2000

This afternoon I was honored to meet with a special visitor. A little while earlier I received a message that she was in Hebron, at the Gutnick Center, next to Ma'arat HaMachpela. I expressed a desire to meet and speak with her and a short time later she was sitting in my office in the Avraham Avinu neighborhood.

Jonathan Pollard's wife, Esther Pollard, is a very special woman. But then, she is married to a very special man.

Jonathan Pollard has been sitting in a US Federal Penitentiary for fifteen years, having been convicted of spying for the State of Israel. For many of those years he was abandoned by the country he worked for. Yitzhak Rabin did ask Clinton, in an indirect way, to release Pollard following Israel's release of Arab terrorists after the Oslo signing. Netanyahu's government officially recognized Pollard's contribution to Israel and made public efforts for his liberation.

As Esther Pollard tells it, and documentation can be seen on the Jonathan Pollard web site (jonathanpollard.org), the Wye Summit almost collapsed following Israel's refusal to drop extradition charges against the head of Arafat's police force Razi Jabali. Jabali was known to have directly ordered the murder of Israeli-Arab land dealers who sold real estate to Israeli Jews post-signing of the Oslo Accords. The Arabs suggested a swap: drop the charges against Jabali and we will get you Pollard. Netanyahu agreed. So did Clinton. Until the next morning, just before the signing ceremony was to take place. Clinton, as we all know, reneged.

However, there was a fallback. It was secretly agreed that Jonathan would be released after a bogus review, parallel to the release of Arab security prisoners, again, part of the Wye scandal. Not too long ago the Arab murderers were released by Israel, including those who spilled Jewish blood. Jonathan Pollard still rots in prison.

Esther Pollard and the Pollards' lawyer have attempted to meet with Barak, to no avail. She approached former Prime Minister Bibi Netanyahu to find out if Barak knew about the deal, if he had been briefed before taking office. Netanyahu confirmed that Barak had been informed.

Rather than demand Jonathan Pollard's immediate release, Barak announced that the Pollard affair is an 'internal US matter' which has no bearing on the 'peace process.'

Esther Pollard told me how she recently met, together with attorney Larry Dub, the new Israeli ambassador to the US, David Ivri, the night before his trip to Washington, on his way to undertake his new position. Ivri denied being briefed on the Pollard affair, in any way whatsoever.

It seems that Ehud Barak has decided to abandon Jonathan Pollard to his fate in an American jail cell.

What is the connection between Jonathan Pollard and Hebron? I explained this to a group of tourists visiting Hebron today, in Mrs. Esther Pollard's presence.

"People ask why Oslo happened - how is it that the State of Israel is detaching itself from our rightful Homeland. The answer, as complicated as it is, is quite simple. It can be summed up in one word: EDUCATION. Many many people do not understand what the Land of Israel really is, its significance to Am Yisrael, the people of Israel. They do not appreciate its spiritual importance, its heritage, its history.

The same people have no comprehension of what Am Yisrael actually is, or why we have to live in the Land of Israel. They also have not an idea as to the backbone of our culture, of our tradition, of our way of life, that being Torah.

This being the case, they are totally blind to the importance of even one individual, a single person, a single Jew. It is written that 'he who saves one life is as if he has saved an entire world.' There are those, drowning in their own stupidity or negligence, who care not about a single Jew, not to speak of an entire people, willing to sacrifice all 'in the name of peace and democracy.'

How much more so, how much more so, should the leaders of a State give what is rightfully due to a solitary individual who dispensed all he could for the preservation of his Homeland, for the preservation of his People, employed by that Homeland, by that People, by that State.

Ehud Barak neither recognizes the significance of the Land of Israel, nor the import of a single Jew. For they are one and that same."

Esther Pollard didn't arrive in Hebron to come speak with me. She came to pray at the Tomb of our Patriarchs and Matriarchs, beseeching G-d for mercy, that her husband should not be abandoned, but rather should be liberated and allowed to come home, home to Israel. Her mission is one of truth, strength and faith: the strength to carry on day after day, knowing that the truth must be spoken, knowing that the truth must be promulgated, with the faith that originated with the roots of our people, here in Hebron, almost four thousand years ago. It wasn't necessarily easy for Abraham either, but he did what he knew he had to do. So it was with Jonathan Pollard, and so it is today with his wife, Esther, seeking to free a true prisoner of Zion from captivity.

It is incumbent upon all of us to make our voices heard. Just as we refuse to contemplate relinquishment of our Land, so must we refuse to accept the continued imprisonment of Jonathan Pollard. From Hebron we demand of the elected Prime Minister of Israel, Ehud Barak, his cabinet, and the Knesset: