Pollard vs Barak - Supreme Court Hearing

Media Release - January 23, 2000

JERUSALEM - Jonathan Pollard's precedent setting case - the first time in history that an agent has sued the government of the country he served - was heard in Israel Supreme Court this morning [23/01/00].

The case was heard by a tribunal consisting of Supreme Court President Justice Aaron Barak, Justice Michael Cheshin and Justice Yitzhak Zamir. Attorneys Larry Dub and Baruch Ben-Yosef represented Jonathan Pollard. Attorney Uzi Fogelman represented the respondent, Prime Minister Ehud Barak. Jonathan Pollard's wife, Esther was present in court on behalf of her husband.

The Initial Response on behalf of the Government (filed Oct.7/99), recognized Jonathan Pollard as an Israeli agent and as such recognized its obligation to him. In its Initial Response, the Government made specific commitments to Pollard - promising immediate medical assistance, financial support, consistent contact, and regular updates, among other things.

Pollard's attorney, Larry Dub, informed the Court that not a single one of these commitments has been fulfilled, or even acted upon in any way since the document was filed months ago. It was difficult for those in attendance in the court to credit the respondent's flagrant breech of promise, and some thought that they simply had not heard correctly. Attorney Ben-Yosef reiterated, and clarified unequivocally that the respondent has not even made any attempt to fulfill these commitments.

According to Pollard's attorneys, the respondent, Ehud Barak, continues to cut off all contact between Jonathan Pollard and the Government. Neither Pollard nor his representatives have received any update from any Government official since Ehud Barak took office.

Attorney Uzi Fogelman claimed that his client, Ehud Barak, brings up Jonathan Pollard's name at every meeting with the Americans. Pollard's attorneys countered that if that is the case, he is certainly not bringing it up in any serious manner.

Attorney Dub then called the court's attention to his and Mrs. Pollard's December 28, 1999 meeting with the new Israeli Ambassador to the United States, Mr. David Ivri. Dub pointed out that Ivri should know of any initiative for Pollard, if for no other reason than that Ivri not say or do anything in his new post that would frustrate the Government's plans.

Dub stated that at the meeting - on the eve of Ivri's departure to the US - the new Ambassador stated, in front of witnesses (including the legal counsel for the Ministry of Defense) that he had received no update from the Prime Minister concerning Pollard, no instructions from any Government official regarding Pollard, and he knew of no plan to assist Pollard in any way.

Pollard's attorneys added that the Government's failure to act in good faith to fulfill their basic commitments to Jonathan Pollard, does little to foster trust in Ehud Barak's word on the larger issue of seeking Pollard's release.

On January 20, 2000, two days before the Pollard Hearing convened, the Government filed a Supplemental Response to the Pollard petition. This document claimed that the Court has no jurisdiction in this case because it would constitute interference in a political matter. The Supplemental Response therefore requested that the Court reject the case out of hand. The Justices did not even address this document.

In the light of the Government's complete failure to fulfill its basic commitments towards an Israeli agent, the Court felt an obligation to hear the case. It is anticipated that the Court's ruling in the case will set a precedent regarding the Government's obligations towards those who serve the State. A decision is expected shortly.

See Also:

  • Scenes From the Pollard Supreme Court Hearing
  • Legal Texts Page - Israeli Documents
  • Larry Dub Letter to PM Barak - Dec. 28, 1999