Jonathan Pollard, convicted Israeli spy who has served 30 years in a US federal prison for passing US military secrets to Israel, is set to be freed on parole on November 20 of this year.
Pollard was incarcerated in 1985 and given a life sentence upon his conviction in 1987. Many, including former CIA and FBI chiefs, consider his life sentence to be excessive, especially when compared to others convicted for similar acts of treason.
In the decades since his imprisonment, there have been numerous campaigns to get Pollard released, including pleas from various Israeli government officials. These campaigns were often based on concern for Pollard’s declining health, coupled with requests for justice, in releasing him from the extremely harsh sentence he received in relation to the crimes committed.
One of the most prominent personalities who offered Pollard emotional and spiritual support during his decades in prison was Rabbi Mordechai Eliyahu. Eliyahu served as a Chief Rabbi in Israel from 1983 to 1993 and had a close and supportive relationship with Pollard for 20 years. Eliyahu passed away June 7, 2010.
Shortly after Eliyahu’s death, Pollard’s then-wife Esther began to speak out about the spiritual messages the rabbi shared with them. In an article published by The Yeshiva World News on June 11, 2010, Esther shared Eliyahu’s prediction that the eventual release of Jonathan Pollard from prison is connected to the final redemption.
“Over time, the Rav [Rabbi] shared with us and with a few others who were very close to him that Jonathan’s release is the key to the redemption of all of Am Yisrael [the Jewish people],” she wrote.
“He taught us how Jonathan’s release is also the key to the release of all of Israel’s captives and MIAs. Once Jonathan is out, all the captives are all out! Once they are all out, we are all in Geula [redemption]!”
“Perhaps most significant of all, the Rav always referred to Jonathan as the ‘Yosef HaTzadik shel doreinu’ (The Yosef Hatzadik of our generation),” she added.
This last reference connects Jonathan Pollard to the Biblical Joseph, who was also imprisoned.
In August of 2010, Esther Pollard sent her husband a birthday letter which he released for publication. In it, she strengthened her husband’s spirits with the words of the recently departed Rabbi Eliyahu.
“You are a cosmic key to the redemption of the Jewish people. Your release is synonymous with the release of the Shechinah [the Divine presence] from galut [exile]. Your release is tied up with the Moshiach Ben David’s [Messiah son of David’s] return to the Land. Your release is bound to the redemption of the land and people of Israel.”
Some have suggested that the release of Pollard on the heels of the nuclear deal with Iran is an attempt on the part of the US administration to soothe the anger in Israel over the deal.
US Attorney General Loretta Lynch denied that the two are connected. “It would have been extremely far-thinking of people 30 years ago to sentence Mr. Pollard and set this mandatory release date to coincide with the Iran deal. And if they were able to pull that off I would be quite impressed.”
Jewish and Christian believers agree that the judges and lawyers involved in the case 30 years ago could not have anticipated the confluence of events. Only God could have created this timing.