Eishes Chayil Mi Yimtza

Jonathan Pollard at the levayah of his wife, Esther, a”h, January 31. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)

It started over 35 years ago when I was invited to meet Mr. Pollard Sr., Mr. Morris Pollard, the father of Jonathan.

What I heard the next night sounded like an impossible story.

I listened carefully and, as the American reporter for Hamodia, I reported as much as I was recommended to.

During the following months I learned that most of the Jewish community in America didn’t want to be involved, associated, or have anything to do with Jonathan Pollard.

They were afraid.

A few years later, I had a meeting in Center One in Yerushalayim with Esther Pollard, his dedicated wife, who tirelessly and tenaciously fought for her husband’s freedom.

At that point, all hurt, she was afraid to talk or to trust anyone. She was looking around; who knew who was sitting at the next table?

I promised her then that what Hamodia excels in is understanding what not to write, no less than what to write.

And we would publish only whatever was good for Jonathan.

Twenty-five years later, I can say that we stayed true to our promise.

Esther’s concern was mostly about the Israeli government, who were far from being helpful, to say the least. Jonathan Pollard, who sacrificed his life for the safety of Jews in Israel, was left for the first 10 years of prison under horrifying conditions and only then was moved to FCC Butner in North Carolina.

Jonathan had very few people to support him.

With the blessing of the Rishon Letzion, Harav Mordechai Eliyahu, zt”l, Esther did whatever was humanly possible to ease his conditions, to no avail.

She literally sacrificed her life for Jonathan.

It’s about time for the truth to be told.

The second person who did whatever he could to keep Jonathan connected from jail to the world was Rabbi Pesach Lerner.

Only Hashem knows what he did to provide Jonathan with what he needed behind Butner walls.

A few more years passed, with the help of Rabbi Lerner I went to visit Mr. Pollard at the Federal Correctional Complex in Butler, North Carolina.

It wasn’t easy, to say the least.

Finally, finally, after 30 years in prison, he was released.

The Pollards moved into a tiny apartment on the fifth floor on East 49th Street in Manhattan. Jonathan was under strict limitations, not like a man who was finally freed.

The Pollards lived there for five years.

If any of you readers assume that the Israeli government would change their policy and would help a man, after 30 years in prison, to get health insurance or other necessary services, you are wrong.

It was the same old friends who came to help.

The Pollards were not able to cross the Brooklyn Bridge. They were not able to attend any event in Manhattan that was 100 feet away from the distance permitted to him. Jonathan wore a tracking bracelet, and if he left his house at five minutes to 7:00 for a doctor’s appointment instead of 7:00, the phone from the security service rang.

And then the miracle happened. Finally, after five years, even the Americans didn’t want to punish him anymore, and Jonathan and Esther were able to leave for Israel.


Dear Esther,

Your loyalty, dedication and devotion to your husband were more than admirable.
You were a true eishes chayil who sacrificed your life, health and everything you had for him.
You stood by your husband in life.
We, your friends at Hamodia, are sure you will continue to daven for Jonathan that he should be able to continue to live without you.
We pray Hashem should strengthen him and that he have a nechamah in these challenging days.

And to you, Jonathan,

You don’t have to tell us what you lost.
We, the old, good friends, care about you and will stand with you forever.

המקום ינחם אותך בתוך שאר אבלי ציון וירושלים ולא תוסיף לדאבה עוד.

Mrs. Ruth Lichtenstein, Publisher
& the Hamodia family

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