Pollard play put on at Knesset

Play brought to legislature by Pollard caucus leaders Ariel, Tirosh; Knesset Speaker delivers an impassioned plea to the US at the event.

By GIL STERN STERN HOFFMAN
August 2, 2011 02:53
2 minute read.
Jonathan Pollard

Jonathan Pollard 311 (R). (photo credit: Courtesy of Justice for Jonathan Pollard)

 
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The Knesset hosted a theatrical production about Israeli agent Jonathan Pollard by Tel Aviv’s Cameri Theater Monday that was attended by ministers, MKs, and the Fogel family, whose children were murdered three months ago in Itamar.

Knesset Speaker Reuven Rivlin delivered an impassioned plea to the US at the event to release Pollard, who has served more than 25 and a half years of a life sentence for passing classified information to an ally.

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Rivlin called Pollard “our brother” and compared him to the biblical Joseph. He expressed disappointment that the US refused an overture from the Knesset to allow Pollard to attend his father’s funeral.

“Since Pollard’s conviction, the Berlin Wall came down but he is still surrounded by the walls of the federal prison,” Rivlin said. “At first, we thought that if we could act behind the scenes, we could restore trust with the US and bring about a breakthrough that could bring about Pollard’s release. Too slow, we learned that acting quietly wouldn’t help and we needed to act openly to help him become free.”

Rivlin said the American decision not to permit Pollard to attend his father’s June 20 funeral, despite a letter the Knesset wrote to top American officials, “stained” US-Israel relations and made Israelis feel “broken and insulted.”

The Knesset speaker criticized past American attempts to make Pollard a bargaining chip held in hopes of persuading Israeli leaders to give up parts of the land of Israel.

“Jonathan must be released by right and not as charity,” Rivlin said. “It should be out of justice and not as a gesture of good will.”

The 75-minute play, which tells Pollard’s story, was brought to the Knesset by the heads of the Knesset lobby for Pollard, MKs Uri Ariel (National Union) and Ronit Tirosh (Kadima). Ariel called for the play to be put on across the country.

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It was attended by 350 people, including Science and Technology Minister Daniel Hershkowitz (Habayit Hayehudi), Agriculture Minister Orit Noked (Independence), and MKs Ze’ev Bielski (Kadima), Tzipi Hotovely (Likud) and Michael Ben-Ari (National Union).

Pollard’s wife, Esther, did not attend the production, because she is in North Carolina, where her husband is expected to undergo surgery soon.

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