Ariel Sharon and Jonathan Pollard

Prof. Paul Eidelberg - IMRA - October 16, 2002

Ariel Sharon's indifference to the fate of Jonathan Pollard, who is entering his eighteenth year of incarceration, corresponds exactly to the Prime Minister's callous attitude toward the murder of Jews by Arab terrorists. In proof of this accusation, consider the following.

In his Jerusalem Post interview of September 26, Mr. Sharon baldly rejects a military solution to the Israel-Palestinian conflict. "Our policy," he said, "is to prevent an escalation of terrorism and in fact to reduce it." "I have always acted to prevent escalation of the situation to progress ." (meaning escalation on Israel's part as well as on the part of the terrorists). "[G]oing in and destroying terrorism [as advocated by some Israeli politicians] is a wrong approach."

Clearly, Sharon's military objective is not to eliminate Arab terrorism but to prevent it from escalating beyond a "tolerable" level. But this means he is willing to tolerate the murder of an "acceptable" number of Jews! More than 500 of his fellow-citizens have been murdered as a result of this unconscionable policy, and there is no end in sight.

Mr. Sharon stands self-condemned as a Prime Minister who is not concerned about the life of every Jew. He has abdicated his most solemn responsibility for the security of the people of Israel. And it is in this light that we are to understand his indifference to the fate of Jonathan Pollard.

But now mark my words. Some say Mr. Sharon's failure to pursue a policy of zero-tolerance toward Palestinian Arab terrorism is dictated by the United States. If so, then, contrary to Sharon's assurances, do not expect his Government to respond to any attack on Israel by Iraq in the event of another Persian Gulf War. In other words, Jews will continue to be expendable, just like Jonathan Pollard.

Now let us consider this degrading and dangerous state of affairs in the light of Jewish law. According to Jewish law, and contrary to paganism and the practice of nations, under no circumstances may an individual Jew be sacrificed for the sake of the State. As it says in the Jerusalem Talmud, "If gentiles [surrounding Israel] demand, 'Surrender one of yourselves to us and we will kill him; otherwise we shall kill all of you,' they must all suffer death rather than surrender a single Israelite to them" (Terumot 8, 9). This law was violated when the Israel embassy in Washington, D.C. turned Jonathan Pollard over to the FBI-violated even though the State of Israel was in no danger of destruction.

The violation continues. But notice that Jonathan Pollard, a Jew, is being sacrificed not to save the State of Israel, let alone Jews in America, but rather to avoid disturbing the gentiles or to curry their favor.

Jews in Israel and elsewhere will continue to pay a terrible price for such self-abasement, indeed, for this desecration of the God of Israel. This degradation of the People of God has aroused contempt for Jews and the State of Israel. It has incited worldwide anti-Semitism. It has resulted in the murder of more and more Jews. And there is no end in sight so long as Israel has prime ministers lacking Jewish pride and devoid of Jewish faith in God.

Biographical Note

: Paul Eidelberg (Ph.D. University of Chicago) is the author of ten books on American politics, the Arab-Israel conflict, and Jewish philosophy. Prof. Eidelberg is on the Editorial Board of Israel's premier journal, Nativ, and on the Advisory Council of the Ariel Center of Policy Research
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