9 May 2022

Independence…If You Can Keep It

Jonathan Pollard has a provocative piece in the Jerusalem Post this week. The lead-off reads like this:

“I’m tired of this. I’m tired of seeing our so-called leaders taking our flag, washing out the blue and only leaving the white of surrender.”

The long-time “Prisoner of Zion” (Pollard was in prison in the US for 30 years for passing sensitive information to the Israelis) understands better than most how precious freedom is. His words call to mind Ben Franklin’s famous reply to a woman that asked him what the Continental Congress had given the people.

“A republic, madam, if you can keep it,” he said.

In the 200 years since, we certainly understand the challenges that come with maintaining vigilance.

Israel knows better than most how challenging that can be, having been on high alert every second of every day these last 74 years. The nervous excitedness in Tel Aviv’s Independence Hall that afternoon gave way to a sense that the next decades would not be easy.

They haven’t been.

Pollard writes movingly of his experiences in prison, about who he could trust and who he couldn’t.

I am privileged this year to celebrate our Independence Day as a free person in the Land of Israel. After enduring 35 years of prison and house arrest due to my actions as an Israeli agent, my love for this country and its wonderful citizens has only increased with each and every day that passes. More than anything else, though, I am deeply grateful to God for all our brave soldiers, who in their devotion to the survival of our country allow the miracle of our national rebirth to reoccur every day of the year.”

He then made a very interesting comparison:

“I quickly learned that we didn’t have a right to self-defense under any circumstances. People can’t believe me when I tell them that we were always wrong if we tried to defend ourselves. And those who did were always punished excessively in order to make the point that they were no better than their assailants. It was total insanity.”

You see here the point, I trust. Israel is the imprisoned one, never justified in self-defense, according to the international community. Many, many enemies wish her harm.

Pollard correctly terms Israel’s enemies as “an army of cold-blooded antisemitic psychopaths,” and the authorities are afraid of “provoking them.” He said he is waiting for that leader that can wipe Israel’s enemies off the face of the earth.

I have to tell you, I agree with his stance. That’s one reason I have a poster of Ze’ev Jabotinsky on a wall in my home. Jabotinsky, who died in 1940, but helped prepare for the State, understood that one cannot negotiate with implacable enemies.

Pollard is not Christian, but he knows the God of the Bible:

“We know why we are here. God gave us this land, not the British Empire, the League of Nations, Washington or the UN. But despite this fact, it’s sad for me to realize that our holy mission of reestablishing the Third Jewish Commonwealth is not even halfway done. And this is because of our own fear and trepidation, not the result of our enemies’ actions.

“We still don’t have our land back. We don’t have our self-respect back, we don’t have our independence back the way we should have after 2,000 years of pogroms, crusades, inquisitions and genocidal attempts to eliminate our people.”

He implores his countrymen to stand up for themselves and stop worrying about what their “foreign masters” think. Again, I agree. If the right leader is not Bennett—if the right leader is not Netanyahu—then let it be someone else. A Joshua for our times.

He would know what to do.