Feature OpEd by Tami Arad, wife of MIA Ron Arad

Undo an historical injustice, free Pollard Tami Arad - YNET - April 2, 2014

There is no argument over the fact that freeing Jonathan Pollard as part of a deal securing the release of murderers raises a moral problem even for Pollard himself.

In favor of Knesset members and ministers of the right-wing parties, it should be said that they are the ones who publicly embraced the Pollard couple for many years and exerted pressure for his release in Israel and abroad. And now, a government minister like Uri Ariel, who sees himself as Pollard's representative against the American persistence, will be forced to fight against his release as part of the deal taking shape.

This cruel, sophisticated American idea is beginning to appear as a brilliant move by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. Netanyahu will gain the support of the majority of the public - including Likud voters, excluding Danny Danon's voters - and in that same circular deal he will get rid of Danon and buy time against the rest of the world.

The moral question should not bother Netanyahu. He wants to save Jonathan Pollard and is fulfilling the mitzvah of "he who saves even one soul," etc. If Arik Sharon let himself cut a shameful deal with Hezbollah in exchange for Elhanan Tennenbaum, who engaged in drug trafficking, and no one protested vigorously, Netanyahu can definitely release Pollard, to whom the State of Israel owes infinitely more.

Those who may face a problem are Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman and Defense Minister Moshe Ya'alon, who opposed the Shalit deal. If these two consider voting in favor of Pollard's release, only because it is a government proposal and they are among its senior ministers, they may be seen as betraying the firm ethical values they set for themselves against the release of terrorists.

Yair Shamir, the agriculture minister and Yisrael Beiteinu member, feels free of political entanglements and has expressed his moral objection to the deal in an uncompromising voice. Yair Shamir's father, late Prime Minister Yitzhak Shamir, was among the decision makers who preferred to sacrifice Pollard for the sake of minimizing damage and repairing the friendship with the United States. A clearly inhumane and immoral act, although it fulfills the saying attributed to early Zionist activist Joseph Trumpeldor: It's good to die for our country.

For the sake of historical truth, Shamir wasn't there alone. Shimon Peres and Yitzhak Rabin joined him in that miserable, and perhaps inevitable decision at the time. And in the same breath, it should be noted that as president, Peres tried to undo the injustice and did a lot to secure Pollard's release.

The conclusion that Shamir Jr. inherited the disregard for Pollard's distress from his father is completely unfounded, but it's hard to ignore the fact, or perhaps the fate, that Yair Shamir belongs to a group which is willing once again to sacrifice a person who sat in prison half his life because of his operators' carelessness, or rather because of Zionism. This doesn't mean that Pollard wasn't wrong when he agreed to spy against the country he was born in for his homeland, but even James Woolsey, the former CIA director, agrees that Pollard is sitting in prison today for reasons unrelated to his actions.

Saying that Pollard sacrificed his life for the State of Israel is no cliché. His ex-wife Anne, who sat in the American prison for five years as an accomplice to her husband's act, has joined the campaign for his release in the past few weeks. Anne has spoken more than once about the betrayal she felt from those who sent them.

In the current constellation, if Bibi and his wife Sara get to host the Passover Seder with Jonathan and his wife Esther - that would be enough.

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