Jonathan Pollard
Today, a quarter century ago, Jewish spy Jonathan Pollard was arrested and sent to an American prison. Prisoner number 09185-106 looks out from his cell towards the growing calls in Israel and the United States for his release, and says: “The letters that come to me from Israel are my oxygen. I imagine how it’ll be when my beloved wife runs into my open arms when I get to Ben Gurion airport.”

After more than 9,000 days held in prison, the Jewish spy Jonathan Pollard now believes that his release is closer than ever before. “Every day I get up in the morning and I pray that today will be the day,” he told Israel’s Ma’ariv newspaper from his guarded federal prison cell in Butner, North Carolina. “I pray that the warden will come into my cell, finally, and tell me, “Pack your things, Pollard, you’re going home!”

“I’m always amazed that people in Israel still remember me and care about me. That they want me home. The letters are my oxygen. Sometimes people tell me personal stories in these letters. Some of these stories are simply amazing. I always stand in awe of the bravery and the strength of this nation. I feel blessed to be part of it.” In his imagination, he already sees his reunion with his wife Esther in Israel.

“My wife Esther is the light of my life,” he says. “Her faith in me, the encouragement, the optimism and her selflessness, they are what gave me the strength to survive during the hardest times. I’m imagining how it will be when the day comes that my beloved wife will run into my open arms when I arrive at Ben Gurion Airport. I draw out our happiness-filled embrace in my mind.”

“I imagine how I hold her very close to me for many long minutes, as tears of happiness are streaming from our faces. I dry her tears, kiss her eyes, and tell her again and again: “Esther, we’re home! We’re finally home! And surrounding us are family and friends sharing the happiness with us. Laughing and smiling and welcoming us home.”

The efforts to bring about Pollard’s release continue on all fronts. Yesterday, the Washington Times published an article that his father, Morris Pollard, wrote, together with his lawyer David Kirschenbaum. They wrote, “25 years ago this month, Jonathan Pollard, a US citizen who worked as a Naval intelligence analyst, was arrested on suspicion of handing over to Israel classified American documents dealing with Iraq, Syria, and other Arab countries – the only man who received a punishment like this for spying for a US ally.”

His father mentioned Lawrence Korb, who was the assistant to the Secretary of Defense during Pollard’s arrest, who is now working towards his release, and turned to President Obama to lighten his sentence. In the letter, he mentions the names of other spies who were handed down much lighter sentences.  “CIA agent David Barnett, who sold the names of 30 American agents to the Soviets, was sentenced to 18 years on prison and got out after 10,” wrote Pollard.

“Michael Walker, a key player in the Soviet spy ring of the Walker family, was sentenced to 25 years in prison and got out after 15. William Kampiles, a CIA officer who sold the Soviets the operating manual to the KH-11 satellite, America’s “eye in the sky,” received a 40-year sentence and was released after 18 years.”

At the end of his article, Pollard claims: “The message of those still opposed to Pollard’s release is that, apparently, we can wink at espionage on behalf of Egypt, Saudi Arabia and China; we can limit the punishments of those who expose American agents, compromise sophisticated US electronic intelligence capabilities, advance the development of enemy weapons systems and even fight alongside enemy combatants – but that unauthorized transmittal of classified data about Arab states to warn Israel of existential threats is unforgivable. For that crime even 25 years in prison is not enough.”