Dov Hikind Visits Jonathan Pollard


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jail.jpgOn Tuesday, July 31st, Assemblyman Dov Hikind (D-Brooklyn) visited Jonathan Pollard at the Federal Correctional Complex at Butner, North Carolina. Hikind, along with Rabbi Pesach Lerner, Executive Vice President of the National Council of Young Israel; Dr. Joseph Geliebter, Director of the Rabbi Leib Geliebter Memorial Foundation; and Wolf Sender, District Manager of Community Board 12, spoke with Pollard for two-and-a-half hours. “Jonathan told me, ‘I know I broke the law; all I ask for is proportionality.’ And where is our proportionality? Where has the American Jewish community collectively been on an issue that will define our generation? Have we done enough? Absolutely not,” says Hikind.
 “What has happened in your life in the last 22 years? Perhaps you’ve married, had children, maybe even become a grandparent; you have lived your life, with all the ups and downs which that entails, and all that time Jonathan Pollard has languished in prison for a crime which has netted others a far lighter sentence than a life term.
“It was humbling to look into the eyes of a man who spent 22 years of his life in confinement, and see a faith so deep and strong that even in federal detention, he has stringently adhered to the laws of Kashrus, under the harshest of circumstances, though he is in very poor health. His condition is not being monitored or treated adequately and is deteriorating. He became a baal Teshuva more than 15 years ago and has never looked back, only forward. He has paid his debt. All he wants is to go home to Israel and be with his dear and beloved wife, Esther.
“Jonathan’s prolonged incarceration is a tragedy which reflects poorly on all of us. The life sentence he received was disproportionate and disparate to that of individuals convicted of a similar crime. And it was a lifetime until the American Jewish community acknowledged its responsibility to Jonathan. It was very late in coming. And it’s not enough. All of us need to do more. If we all did 1/100th of what Rabbi Lerner has done, Jonathan’s sentence could have already been commuted. Jonathan is an extraordinary individual who has committed himself to Yiddishkeit. It is time we wholly committed ourselves to his release. The National Council of Young Israel is once again launching a national call-in drive to ask the President to commute Jonathan’s sentence. It’s time.
“As the Yomim Noraim approach and we are asking Hashem to bestow His mercy upon us and judge us favorably, we must show Hashem that we are merciful and worthy of merit. This is our generation’s nisayon: Have we fully extended ourselves in the mitzvah of pidyon shvuyim to redeem Jonathan? A crime….yes. A debt…yes. A life…yes, not a life sentence. We have to pull together now as a community to pull for Pollard. We must insist that our rabbinic leadership speak about Jonathan often, especially during the Yomim Noraim. We cannot rest until he’s in Israel.”

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  1. It is comments like these from Dov Hikind that turn most of us off to this cause. Even though we may agree that his sentence was unfair, and we must try to get him out, but to say that this is “an issue that will define our generation”? C’mon, I can think of at least two dozen issues that better define our generation.

    While the punishment may be disproportionate for his crime, the efforts and money being put in to this cause are disproportionate as well.

    The other issue is, that this has more to do with Israel than Pollard. If Pollard had spied for another ally, Canada, Britain, etc, and was similarly convicted, you would not hear a peep from any of these people. They are upset that he spied for “us” and is wallowing in jail.

    I know that these comments of controversial, but I get frustrated when people think that the most important thing for our Rabbonim to speak about during the upcoming Heilige Teg is the fate of one person.

  2. So, another politician visited Jonathan Pollard. Big deal! Did any of them free him? No!

    Interestingly, I read in either the Jewish Observer or the Yated Ne’eman that there is no record of his request for parole. Boy, the federal government is incarcerating Pollard because of Anti-Semitism on their part or they are afraid of what Pollard may say about the United States spying on Israel and giving the information to the Saudis. I think that is the real motivation.

  3. gemorakop,
    Do you have a problem with Pidyon Shevuim only when the prisoner is Jonathan Pollard or, you would have the same issue with any prisoner? As I understand the reason he has not asked for parole is because once he is rejected he can not file again for 5 years and his lawyers advised him that it would not help him in getting his sentence cut by the president. Your user name suggests that you learn Torah but your words show that either you picked this name with sarcasam or you are a major hypocrite. Jonathan Pollard is a Baal Teshuva, he says he committed a crime, he is in there for 22 years, Bemokom sh’baal Tshuva Omeid Ein Tzadikim GeMurim Yecholim Laamod. He ia an amazing Baal Bitochun Let’s help him go HOME…

  4. flatbushbub
    Did you take the day off to make the visit? I did not, so I am glad that PL and DH were there to schmooze, give him chizuk and just raise his spirits an iota…

  5. frustrated – If you read what I wrote, I agree that we must try to get him out, there was even a letter of support from R’ Elyashiv for the cause. I have a problem with those spearheading this movement that are making this into the issue of the century.

    In response to your question: “Do you have a problem with Pidyon Shevuim only when the prisoner is Jonathan Pollard or, you would have the same issue with any prisoner?”, Dov Hikind and Pesach Lerner are the ones who are giving more attention to him than other prisoners. Have you seen them burning up the WH telephones for anyone else? I think your question is better posed to them that to me.

  6. Interesting letter to the editor regarding Jonathan in this week’s Yated. Reader had written to US Pardon Attorney, Roger C. Adams. It appears on page 74 for the Yated edition of Parshas Eikev. Would there be any insight on the letter that Mr. Adams wrote?