In a dreary cell in a federal penitentiary in Butner, North Carolina, Jonathan Pollard marked his 59th birthday this week.
In frail health, suffering from numerous medical conditions, it is a miracle that after 10,100 days — nearly 28 years in prison — he is still alive.
We can’t depend on miracles.
The facts of his case are well-known to the readers of these pages.
As we recently noted, President Obama has readily and unapologetically acknowledged that in the world of intelligence, it is self-understood that friends spy on friends.
In contrast, Jonathan Pollard never spied on the United States. Acting out of concern for the security of the people of Israel, he gave over to the Israeli authorities classified information that America had gathered about other countries.
Pollard pled guilty to a single count of passing classified information to an ally as part of a plea deal that was supposed to ensure that he wasn’t sentenced to life in prison.
After then-Defense Secretary Weinberger, who according to his deputy at the time, was acting out of an “almost visceral dislike of Israel,” submitted a classified memorandum to the sentencing judge, Pollard was sentenced to life behind bars for a crime whose median punishment is between two and four years in prison.
Pollard has repeatedly expressed remorse for his actions, and a long list of some of the most prominent high-ranking former government officials, including those privy to his secret file, have urged his release.
When President Obama visited Israel just before Pesach, there were high hopes that Pollard’s release was imminent. It seemed difficult to imagine that Obama, on his first visit as president to Yerushalayim, would turn down the heartfelt pleas of more than 200,000 Israelis who signed a petition pleading for clemency for Jonathan.
Four months have passed, and to the anguish of Jews throughout the world, Jonathan remains in prison and this inexplicable travesty of justice continues.
We must not allow the disappointments of the unsuccessful efforts of the past to dissuade us from continuing to do all we possibly can on his behalf.
We must leave no stone unturned and explore every possible avenue of hishtadlus. More than anything else, we must beseech Shamayim for Yehonoson ben Malkah.
We can’t possibly fathom the ways of Hashem, but we do know that His powers and His kindness are infinite. Every heartfelt prayer, every chapter of Tehillim makes a real difference and may turn out to be the key to his freedom.
Letters — the only ray of light in Jonathan’s dreary cell.
Jonathan refers to the letters he receives as his “oxygen.” Write today. Regular mail only, please. No emails, no fax permitted.
Jonathan Pollard #09185-016
c/o FCI Butner
P.O. Box 1000
Butner, North Carolina