Israeli Parliamentarians Visit Pollard in Prison

May 18, 2000 - Justice4JP Media Release


- A delegation of Israel Members of Knesset made a one-day trip to the USA today to visit Jonathan Pollard at FCI Butner in North Carolina, where he is serving his 15th year of a life sentence for his activities on behalf of Israel.

The delegation consisted of M.K. Rechavaam Ze'evi, leader of the National Unity Party and head of the Knesset Lobby for Pollard; M.K. Dani Naveh, former Cabinet Secretary and currently heading the Likud Response Team; and M.K. Yuli Edelstein, Former Minister of Immigration, and currently representing Yisrael B'Alyiah. A fourth member of the delegation, One Israel Party coalition whip Ofir Pines, was unable to make the trip because of coalition difficulties and scheduling problems.

The M.K.s' meeting with Pollard lasted two hours. Pollard - who is currently taking 4 different medications for a series of health problems, and who experiences excruciating headaches as a result - nevertheless "looked good" and "appeared relaxed and focused during the meeting," according to reports in the Israeli media.

In a telephone conversation with his wife, Esther, following the meeting, Pollard said that he "...appreciated the serious approach that the M.K.s demonstrated during the meeting," and that he was "buoyed by their absolute commitment to my immediate release and repatriation." Pollard also stated "the M.K.s' willingness to undertake such a long trip for a two-hour meeting with me shows that they understand the urgency of my situation. I am grateful for that."

According to reports in Ma'ariv and Kol Yisrael Radio (05/19/2000), Pollard called upon Prime Minister Barak, who is due to meet with President Clinton this week, to bring him home now. Pollard told the delegation, "Prime Minister Barak can achieve my release, and he must. He has yet to make a serious request of President Clinton - if he had, I would have been home long ago."

Ma'ariv also quoted M.K. Dani Naveh, "Given President Clinton's commitment to former Prime Minister Netanyahu at Wye to free Jonathan - which I personally witnessed - and given that Clinton is at the end of his term, now is the time to free Pollard."

M.K. Yuli Edelstein told Israeli reporters, "Pollard amazed us with his vast knowledge of what is going on in Israel. He is up to date on everything - even the smallest details."

M.K. Ze'evi noted that there are a number of issues that the Knesset Lobby plans to bring up with the Prime Minister in the coming days.

The M.K.s plan to meet with Esther Pollard in Jerusalem this week to update her on their visit with her husband. Mrs. Pollard is currently in Jerusalem to attend court proceedings in her husband's criminal lawsuit against Ha'aretz. Two court sessions have been held and two more are scheduled.