Sunday, April 09, 2006


My 21st year in the prison is getting near, and unless a miracle happens, here is what awaits me during the week of Hag Herut:

* Hunger
* Overheating
* Slave labor
* Loneliness and depression
* Sickness
* Betrayal


In the prison, during Pessah, there is constant lack of food, and so my hunger is my constant companion. This year will be worse, because kosher for Pessah food that could be bought in prison's stall is stolen by other prisoners. So, now I can't imagine what will happen.


This is a name for all sort of sicknesses that appear as a consequence of constantly staying in overheated premises. Although nowadays the temperature in North Carolina is warn, the prison keeps heating the section in which I live. The section turned into a warm sauna, and my cell - into a pressure cooker.

Slave labor:

I won't have Seder Pessah. I won't have matza. I won't have wine. I won't be sitting, leaning my elbows. Like any other week, during the entire week of Pessah I will be cleaning windows and bathrooms. It is nothing personal. I am just a symbol of Jewish nation.

Loneliness and depression:

Completely alone. No family. No friends. No meetings. I am very worried about my beloved wife Ester, who is now in Jerusalem fighting for my freedom, despite her broken health, absence of money, and absolutely no support from the government of Israel. I miss her more then one can describe in words. My heart tears into shreds with the thought that again we will be spending this celebration of freedom as prisoners.


21 years of constant asperity in extremely hard prison conditions have destroyed my immune system. My blood pressure maxes out measurement devices. I have high cholesterol, chronic rheumatic arthritis, symptoms of approaching glaucoma, brutal cholecystitis attacks, chronic sinusitis, that is often accompanied by nose bleeding, head spinning, nausea, and blinding headaches. Additional stress in a form of lack of food and Pessah asperities will only make the matters worse.


My service for Israel wasn't for some political party, or a specific leader. I came forward for the welfare of the people. I never asked for thanks or medals. But even in my worst nightmare I couldn't imagine that my people will care so little about fulfillment of commandment of "pidion shvuim", and that they will raise to the heights of power the same man who betrayed me 21 years ago. Instead of an outcry to bring me back home in time for Pessah, my people voted for Rafi Eitan, my ex-commander, to be a member of Knesset.

While I am rotting in prison, Eitan is celebrating his victory. That man not only did not provide me with a plan of escape, he came up with the idea to throw me out of the embassy, then falsely testified against me, and then didn't move his finger for 21 years to help me. Worse, for the past 21 years Eitan is sitting on the only copy of a document of supreme importance that could be the key in negotiations about my release. Election of Rafi Eitan is unpleasant for Americans, and I am paying for that with my life.

Don't rely on miracles

Our tradition teaches us not to rest our hopes on miracles. It says that we need to do "hishtadlut", do our best, and the God will do the rest. This message is my "hishtadlut". It is my last outcry from my very heart, from the depth of my soul (min ha amakim), from the depth of desperation (min ha meitzar), a cry from hell tearing apart the insides and shaking the ground, an outcry of heart directed to my brothers and sisters, the entire House of Israel.

For the past 21 years I am bleeding to death in front of the eyes of all the people of Israel. For the past 21 years my cries for help fall on death ears. If, God forbid, time will run out, nothing will pay for this sin of indifferently standing on the blood of a brother.

Hear Israel! Our God! One God! It is time to make teshuva. It is time to repent. It is time for the entire House of Israel to unite in the name of fulfilling one commandment: pidion shvuim, the returning of the imprisoned! Time to act! Time to pray! Time to use the influence! Time to demand!

Only with the unity of Israel we can show the creator of universe that the people of Israel will not be silent any more, will not stand indifferently on the blood of a brother. Through saving one single prisoner the entire nation of Israel can save and reborn itself.

Celebration of freedom is nearing by. The nation should not wait! With the help of God the salvation can come in a blink of an eye! Let this Pessah be the Pessah of our salvation - collective and personal - and let this Pessah bring the miracle of salvation to all Jewish prisoners. Amen!

Jonathan Pollard,
April 2006

Translated by Yury Puzis from Russian version. All errors are the responsibility of translator. This translation is not official.

This letter was recently published in Israeli newspapers. On April 10 Ester Pollard was interviewed by Israeli Channel 2 on TV. Ester said that she just received information from a high-ranking American source that President Bush is seriously considering freeing Pollard right now, in time for Seder Pessah. However, President Bush is reluctant to sign the pardon without official request from the government of Israel. No government of Israel has ever made such a request.

Ester is urging people to contact the office of Ehud Olmert and demand that such an official request be urgently made. This appeal is to you, my dear reader.

There are people in Israel that will try to jeopardize this unique opportunity. One of them is Rafi Eitan, the leader of the Pensioners party. Right now he is sitting in Olmert's office, getting ready to become a minister.

Please, mention this on your blog, and consider contacting Ehud Olmert yourself.


Irina Tsukerman said...

: (

I'll definitely link to it. This is so sad.

Yury Puzis said...

Thank you

Michael Brenner said...

Pardon me, but I think most of this is BS. It's just another inmate complaining about being in prison.

It is not the practice of the prison system to deny inmates food and not the practice to deny them the right to Kosher for Passover food if this is necessary for conforming with an inmate's religious requirements.

For Pollard to compare himself to Jewish slaves at the time of Exodus is a symptom of his egomania.

Yury Puzis said...

No pardon for BS.

You really think that in practice what happens in prisons is what is written in the book? You think that Pollard simply came up with the food issue to make us pitty him? Did you got the impression that the only reason he wants out is that he wants to eat more?

You should get your facts straight. At least read carefuly.

Michael Brenner said...

What book?

This guy is not a slave. He's an inmate with a job. I'm sure they put something in his prisoner account for it, and at any rate, he is out of line comparing himself with the slaves in Egypt.

Pollard ain't starvin'. And yeah, I think the food issue is to garner pity, as is the nonsense that his wife has been assured of a pardon as long as Israel asks for it. If you believe that, then I have a bridge in Brooklyn I am ready to sell you.

Yury Puzis said...

The "book" of rules. the laws. whatever.

You assumption that Ester is lying is based on nothing. Why should I automatically dismiss her word?

Is he starving? I don't know for sure either way. If he is not (I still don't know why I should trust your assumption against his word) does it matter? Does it makes it right that he is still imprisoned? Should he (still) be imprisoned? This is the focal point of the argument isn't it? The rest is irrelevant. Should he be in there?

I guess it all depends on who / what you choose to believe. Or, more precisely, if you BS detector is any good. So, no, I don't need your Brooklyn bridge. Maybe you should try to get your money's worth back from the guy who sold it to you. Instead of trying to sell it to others.

Michael Brenner said...

First of all, I believe I took the position that Pollard should be released, but only because his sentence was disproportionate, not because he is some kind of hero or martyr.

"You assumption that Ester is lying is based on nothing."

Except basic logic. Ok, if it makes sense to you that a "high official" promised Esther (as if he could) that the President would release Pollard if only the Israeli government would ask, you're entitled to your opinion.

It must be a very cruel high official.

Yury Puzis said...

Not "prmomissed" but informed of a possibility.

Do you call a person who brings you bad news (actually good ones this time) cruel?