Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Jonathan Jay Pollard -- A Greek Tragedy

I see the Jonathan Jay Pollard story as a classic Greek Tragedy not yet complete.
A drama or literary work in which the main character is brought to ruin or suffers extreme sorrow, especially as a consequence of a tragic flaw, moral weakness, or inability to cope with unfavorable circumstances. (The Free Dictionary)
"Lytras nikiforos antigone polynices" by Nikiphoros Lytras 
I studied "World Drama" as my English requirement in my senior year of high school. I really enjoyed it, especially some of the Greek Drama. My favorite was Antigone. I loved the idea that she was fighting for an important religious principle, the ritual burial of her brother. Considering that at the same time, I was struggling to find ways to be a Torah observant Jew, while living in a very non-observant world, Antigone's struggles and principles seemed very easy to identify with. I wonder if Jonathan Jay Pollard considered his attempts to help the State of Israel as Antigone-like, too.

There are five acts in Greek Tragedy.


The Jewish Journal's Jonathan Pollard timeline very eerily fits the bill:
1979 Pollard is hired as a naval intelligence analyst.
1984 Pollard meets an Israeli intelligence officer and soon begins to sell him information.
1985 After attempting to gain asylum through the Israeli embassy in
Washington, D.C., Pollard is arrested.
1987 Pollard pleads guilty to spying and is sentenced to life in prison. and
1998 Israel admits Pollard acted as an agent on its behalf.
2015 A federal panel grants Pollard parole.
I see the timeline, especially as Greek Tragedy a bit differently. What do you think?
  • Act I Prologue: Jonathan Jay Pollard, idealistic Jewish American Zionist gets sensitive job as naval intelligence analyst for the United States Government.
  • Act II Conflict: Pollard sees data he is convinced should be transferred to the Israeli Government. He contacts the Israeli Government and is paid for his services.
  • Act III Rising Action-Climax: The Americans are aware of Pollard's actions; Pollard and his wife Anne flee to Israeli Embassy. Israel allows the Americans to arrest them. The Pollards are both convicted. 
  • Act IV Falling Action: Jonathan Jay Pollard is given an unprecedentedly long and difficult jail term for such a crime. He divorces Anne, who after serving her sentence moves to Israel. A woman named Esther aka Elaine Zeitz makes contact with Pollard and convinces him that only she and not his family and original supporters can be relied on. According to her, they are married by Jewish Law. Since then, she has taken control of his case.
  • Act V Denouement: After thirty years in prison, Pollard is paroled under severe restrictions. 
Pollard is basically in what can be called a glorified house arrest. Just like serial pedophiles, the prison authorities have set him up with tracking devices and he cannot go far from the home that was found for him. He is also forbidden to give interviews etc. Now, to be perfectly honest, I don't know who's more afraid of him, the Americans or the Israelis. Any sensitive security information he may remember from his work has no real value today. So I can't see what the Americans are so afraid of. And considering how the Israeli authorities rather immorally left him  to the dogs, I'd say that the Prime Minister at the time, Shimon Peres and his handler Rafi Eitan, are the ones who prefer him to be muzzled.

This is a sad and tragic story, which is not yet over.


Netivotgirl said...

Your post makes me want to cry because it so accurately portrays the tragedy of Yonatan ben Malka's ongoing saga. I fear we will all be held accountable in Shomayim for not doing enough to help him be freed earlier. The way you divided his life up into a 'Greek tragedy was intriguing. I adore your blogs-- keep them coming Batya!!

Anonymous said...

Was Yosef HaTzadik's story "sad and tragic" in your eyes? This isn't the end for Yehonatan. It's just the introduction.

PS: Two weeks before Hanukah is a strange time to draw comparisons to Greek tragedies, which I'm sure have nowhere near the real-life impact of a "Bible Story".

Batya said...

NG thanks. As an English teacher do yoy agree?
A, it is very accepted to use literary devices to explain or interpret Tanach Bible. I see Pollard as a tragic figure. My opinion. You do not have to agree.

ellen said...

Your analogy of a Greek tragedy is a good one. There a certain elements of this whole episode that are profoundly tragic and complex. I wrote a number of pieces several years back about the soul-wrenching confrontation Pollard must have had over issues of truth, justice and loyalty. One piece called the "Pollard Syndrome" is still posted at A7. Still, I hope we get a happy ending with Pollard home in Israel.

Anonymous said...

Once Moshiach will be revealed Pollard will ascend higher than anyone; as it says Every ascent is preceded by a descent. The amount of light his neshama will be able to grasp!... You have to understand something, when geula will start will be the beginning of a new life for our people and the bigger the current tsuros the bigger the reward. First H grinds our neshamot to dust and then builds from it something new, much greater, much stronger, much better. pollards life has not started yet.

Mr. Cohen said...

Last night, the New England Patriots football team held a moment of silence before their game in Memory of Ezra Schwartz HY"D (a resident of the New England area).

It would be most fitting to take a minute and call the owner of the New England Patriots - Robert Kraft and say thank you. for having the moment of silence, which millions of people saw.
Office number is (508) 543-8200.

I did it last night and the call was appreciated - at least by the receptionist.

Please pass this to as many people as possible so that we can show the team our Hakarat HaTob.

Batya said...

Ellen, thanks, amen.
a 24/11/15 17:34, only Gd knows.
Mr. Cohen, good idea, really.