Photo Credit: Miriam Alster/Flash90
Demonstrators holding up signs calling for Jonathan Pollard's release.
Demonstrators holding up signs calling for Jonathan Pollard's release, in 2012

With one short video, Jonathan Pollard went from being a national hero to “spying for those who betrayed him,” at least according to Likud MK Shlomo Karhi.

Without batting an eye, Karhi compared expressing support for the Zionist Spirit to espionage, and Ayelet Shaked to those who betrayed Pollard, leading him to spend 30 years in prison.


And if Karhi was the only one to express such an opinion, I would not be writing these words, but minutes after Pollard published his video in support of Shaked, the social media went into a frenzy, criticizing and even cursing him.

The same people who until a few days ago appreciated what Pollard had done for Israel made a U-turn and turned on the man who sacrificed his life for the survival of the Jewish state. Even if you disagree with the political views of an individual who spent his entire adult life behind bars for our sake, such ingratitude and dismissal of Pollard’s contributions to Israel’s defense are sickening.

Some argue that Pollard should have seen it coming. After all, this is how politics work in general, and in Israel, in particular. Expressing support for a candidate as unpopular as Shaked, who deceived her voters by entering the government with the Left, would undoubtedly garner criticism.

I have two things to say to them: First, this is just sad, and second, you are right. Public discourse has reached such a low that truly nothing else could have been expected. Unfortunately.

Perhaps Pollard, who immigrated to Israel not long ago, did not expect this to happen, and this is where the person who exposed him to this war comes in. Ayelet Shaked and her faction cannot stop talking about the threats and criticism against them, which leaves two possibilities – either they don’t really believe that there is wild incitement against them, and they are only saying this for short-sighted political purposes, or they knowingly pulled Pollard into this mess without considering the price he could pay. Neither option is great.

True, Pollard is not a child and bears responsibility for what he says or whom he supports, but where is the humanity of the Zionist Spirit lawmakers? How low are they willing to stoop to cross the four-Knesset-seat electoral threshold?

The most important part is how the affair ended. After less than a day, Pollard was forced to withdraw support for Shaked and her party.

The official reason was that Shaked – unsurprisingly – failed to meet several requirements agreed upon with Pollard, including changes to the Knesset list and a promise to only be a part of a right-wing government.

The unofficial reason and I cannot believe some try to deny it, is the criticism Pollard was subjected to in the hours following the release of the video.

Let’s put things into perspective and remember that political support is just that. Life goes on. Pollard’s support for Shaked does not ensure that she will garner the necessary votes, so it certainly does not make him a traitor.

{Written by Ofir Dayan and reposted from IsraelHayom}


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