Pollard Receives His Israeli ID Card

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Jonathan and Esther Pollard are home. Yes, there’s plenty of news in Israel, there always is and likely always will be.  But news that the Pollards flew home in the middle of the night greeted Israelis as the sun rose, and changed the course of our day. Jonathan Pollard. After almost 35 years, a tremendous wrong has come to an end.

First, we have to say that it isn’t justice served or a terrible wrong made right. Nothing will return to the Pollards what was stolen from them. The injustices stand and will likely never be made right. But what is important today is tomorrow. Finally, they are home. More, they are free. Really and truly free. Sometimes pictures say everything. A dozen times or more, I have looked at the pictures and just smiled.

Facing History, One Last time

Still, there are things that must be said. First, should Pollard have been put on trial? Should have have been given prison time? Absolutely.

Why? Because he got caught, and because Israel didn’t defend him. If there was wrong done at that moment, way back then, it wasn’t the United States putting him on trial that was the injustice. Nothing less would have been expected.

But then, to avoid a trial that would have embarrassed two nations, a deal was made, and the deal was a fair one. A plea bargain was made and Pollard admitted guilt for one crime. It was not treason, nor was it espionage. So where did this go wrong? When the United States justice system handed down an unjust and immoral sentence. The truth is, one man was sacrificed.

By the laws of the United States of America, he violated a trust his job gave to him. Without question, he betrayed those he worked for. But, an essential truth is that the United States violated the trust and betrayed Israel first.

Information that they should have given was withheld. For 30 years, all we could focus on was what wasn’t.

And Now Pollard Looks to Tomorrow

Today, we let it go to focus on what is. Jonathan Pollard is home. Quietly, their plane crossed the Atlantic, and the pilots invited Pollard into the cockpit. Jonathan and Esther relaxed and as the plane crossed the Mediterranean, I’m sure they knew they were close.

And then, two amazing things happened. First, the Pollards lowered themselves to kiss the land of Israel, to acknowledge their love and their yearning and most of all to silently tell the very ground under their feet, that they have arrived. Home.

Second, greeting him, recognizing their unique place in our hearts, was the Prime Minister of the State of Israel. And what finally made my eyes fill with tears was watching Bibi Netanyahu hand Jonathan Pollard his Israeli ID card. This was the picture, the moment we’ve waited to see. No, it doesn’t set things right, but it enables us to look to tomorrow.

Whatever comes next for the Pollards, it will be here in Israel. Some will talk of money, but nothing was worth 30 years of his life. Others will speak of a love of people and nation, as a motive. Or of betrayal versus trust. At some point in life, though, it’s time to let go and I believe that is what I see in the face of Jonathan Pollard as he greeted the Prime Minister of Israel.

The Pollards have battles yet to fight but they’ll never be alone again, never feel abandoned again. This, at least, Israel can give them. Some feared their homecoming, I bless it and them. And, if you want to see something amazing, forget the words and even the pictures, and just watch the video.

 

 

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