14 min read
The Man Behind The Controversy: Exclusive Interview With Ex-Spy Jonathan Pollard

Our interview this month will undoubtedly unleash emotions. This month we interviewed former Israeli spy and US Naval Intelligence officer Jonathan Pollard, who spent 30 years in a US prison after he was apprehended for transferring classified information to Israel. For some Jews, Jonathan Pollard is a traitor, while for others he has become a hero. Whatever one decides, Pollard gives a fascinating overview of his mindset during one of the most high profile espionage cases in US history.

Video available now.

Full transcript below. Listen to audio only here.

Platform Mag: You mentioned in another interview that visiting Auschwitz and seeing a dead body for the first time in Prague was a formative experience that taught you "if you're weak, you die", and walked out of it with a chip on your shoulder towards non-Jews and our own Jewish leadership for allowing the Holocaust to happen. Do you feel that these two experiences influenced your decision to spy for Israel?

Jonathan Pollard: I think they were formative experiences for my commitment to Jewish survival. The form that it took was developed over time. I actually didn't walk out of Bergen Belsen and Prague ready to be an agent for Israel. There was always a struggle in my life between my desire to make Aliyah (immigrating to Israel) and my obligation to be a good son. My parents always said that they wouldn't mind me making Aliyah, assuming that I fulfilled my military obligation to the United States (this was during the Vietnam War) and had a way for me to be a productive member of society.

Unfortunately, life throws you curveballs sometimes and I stayed too long in the United States. If I had gone to Israel, if I had made Aliyah, when I should have…. Well, it's possible I could've died in 1973 (during the Yom Kippur War) because I wanted to go into the armored corps at that time. On the other hand, I would've been spared everything that happened to me subsequently.

As Jews, we don't believe in coincidence. So whatever happened to me, happened to me for a reason. When I first went into solitary confinement, it was my first chance to really reassess what had happened to me and why it did. So it took me a long time to realize why I had gotten myself into this mess and then to come to terms with it. I didn't feel at peace with it, but I did come to terms. I'm still assessing how it happened.

My father had warned me about not going into intelligence work. He told me "if you're going to do that, go to Israel". My career evolved from a confluence of events in Cambridge, Massachusetts. I had just fallen out with my wife and I had seen walking across Harvard Square with someone else and I said to myself, "I can't live in the same city [with her] and watch this". So I took a leave of absence from my PhD program and joined Naval Intelligence.

Was it a mistake? No, I don't think so. I had walked down a path that I had selected. God gives you multiple paths and I selected one and looking back on it, I'm thankful I did. Despite all of the hardships and suffering, I still think there was a benefit. The problem was I seem to be the only one to have benefited from the experience. A lot of people are still sleepwalking through the consequences of my case, which dealt with the true relationship between the United States and the Israeli government as well.

So there are many lessons to be learned from this case from the path I took. It had nothing to do with me, I turned a light on. You can blame the person who did that but also look at what that person revealed with their actions. So I've spent some time thinking about that. A lot of people in positions of responsibility in the American Jewish community, in New York in particular, refuse to do that, at all. I consider that a tragedy.

Platform Mag: How do you see the legacy of your overall impact on US-Israel relations?

Jonathan Pollard: Let me answer that in 2 ways. I kept telling people "don't look at dual loyalty, look at dual standards of justice". We don't believe in collective punishment in the United States, except in my case. No other spy from any other ethnicity had a community that suffered like ours did. In fact at the time, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff answered a question that asked why I was punished so severely and he answered, "it was a warning to the Jewish community". People needed to wake up, but nobody did.

I was given by intelligence agents a list of American Jewish leaders to condemn as being party to Israeli intelligence. That list was drawn up long before I was caught, so let's be real about this. I tried to tell people at the time "if you want to know what I did, look at my indictment". The indictment says quite clearly that I spied without intent to harm the United States. That should've shaken a lot of people into rethinking what happened to me.

The other thing about that admission of the government is that we need to step back and realize that there's some information that is so sensitive that even if it's compromised to the closest of allies it could do irreparable damage to national security. In that case the defendant should have understood the consequences of what he was doing and he should also be indicted for intending to harm the United States.

Well you don't have to understand everything going on in the case to know that it didn't rise to that level, because I would have been indicted accordingly and I wasn't. When the real damage assessment came out 20 years later, I understood why they suppressed it for 20 years. There were really only 2 things mentioned there. One was that I had given Israel information that should have been used for a quid-pro-quo in the US-Israel intelligence exchange agreement. That was a joke because it had been violated by the US first. There was an undeclared US intelligence embargo towards Israel, which led to my operation.

Second of all, US allies, especially the one that provided much of the oil for the United States and the international community, felt that I had made Israel too strong. If only! When this assessment came out, no one in the American Jewish community said anything.

Then to cap everything off, [Secretary of Defense Caspar] Weinberger, who was my nemesis, had an interview with Edwin Black (the noted Jewish historian) where he was asked, "why isn't Jonathan Pollard mentioned in your memoirs?” Weinberger responded, "because the Pollard case was a relatively minor matter, made more important than it really was". Edwin jumped on that and said, "Wait a second, you gave a sworn deposition to the court saying Pollard was a traitor, that he was the worst person… ''. Weinberger kept saying "no, it was just made more important than it was".

So when we took this information to the Justice Department Bureau of Ethics Division, we asked them "do you want to reopen this thing now?” They replied that "it's water under the bridge". Again, what did we hear in the Jewish community establishment? Crickets. The other lesson of my case is what I call the 'Rosenberg Lesson', regarding the case of Julius and Ethel Rosenberg. I call it this because within 10 years of my incarceration the US realized that Albert James and Robert Hanson were the ones responsible for the decimation of the CIA covert intelligence collection operation in the Soviet Union. Both of these guys framed me up for being accused of that. So when this became public, again, crickets, nobody said anything.

Senator Dennis Deconcini, the then-chairman of the Senate Intelligence committee, wrote a bi-partisan letter to congress saying "you got the wrong guy, let him go''. Clinton’s response at the time was essentially "no, he's an important bargaining tool now, in our negotiations with the Israelis''. It was an interesting statement.

One of the prosecutors came to visit me many years later, after he had retired and he asked me the following question: "do you remember when the judge asked you if you had any regret for all the people you'd killed?” I answered "yes, I remember." He asked me, "So what did you say?” I told him "yes, I regret that there wasn't one more." The prosecutor asked me "where was your head when you said that?” I told him "Tunis [the capital of Tunisia]".

I was the guy who put the raid together in 1985 to avenge the death of 3 Israelis who were butchered in Larnaca, Cyprus by [Yasser] Arafat's security group, Force 17. The objective of the strike was to kill Arafat, which we hadn't done. So we missed him, he deviated from his normal routine. He said "well, let me tell you where the judge's mind was- Albert James had just given him a description of how General [Sergei] Tretyakov aka "tricycle" (his codename) had been fed feet first into a furnace in the basement of the Lubyanka [building] (the Headquarters of the Soviet/Russian Border Guard Service) in front of his family.

I said to him [the prosecutor] "what has that got to do with me?” He answered, "you were blamed for that and now you're telling the judge that you're sorry you didn't kill another agent!” So he said, "when you looked around the court, did you see an overabundance of armed guards?” I said, "it looked a little heavy". He told me "a lot of the people from the Operations Directorate had volunteered to come in and cap you in the courtroom. That's how bad it was.” So I got a sentence that was appropriate for a traitor, not for what I'd done. That's why I never asked for a pardon, I asked for commutation. I knew what I'd done. I didn't know what they [the prosecution and judge] thought until many years later.

So the other problem for me was that I was involved in the Iran-Contra affair, which became known to the Jewish community later. It's a role that I've never explained to the Israeli government, I've kept my mouth shut and I will continue to do so.

 What I can say is that I opened up the bank accounts in Switzerland. When I refused to give the names of the people that I'd opened it for, the tax court was kind enough to give me possession of the account. So I found myself very rich for about 10 seconds until everything came crashing down. Then people came out with a statement that I had a Swiss bank account. Again, it was totally wrong! I've always said that the most dangerous person in the world is a liar with an ounce of truth. So it was true, I had a bank account that they gave me but that wasn't actually mine. So the Jewish community knew all this and knew why my operation was put into action.

Now, we'll deal with the lessons for Israel. The Israelis understood that there was an undeclared intelligence embargo, after the [Israeli] airstrike on the nuclear reactor at Osirak [in 1981]. For understandable reasons, the US government was loath to publicize this fact.

Look, we all know that more conflicts have started in the Middle East because of miscalculation/misperception than ones that have been calculated. So no one on our side wanted to alert our enemies that we might be blindsided and not fully aware of what they were doing. We knew the Syrians had a war plan for the Golan Heights that was ready to go if there was any return to fighting like in 1973. We didn't want to encourage them, so we had to keep everything quiet. That's why when I was caught I naively expected them [the Israeli government] to explain what the basis of my operation was.

The cabinet of the Israeli government at the time was filled with very smart and ruthless individuals. With such people, you have to ask yourself what the benefit was in their minds for running an agent like me if I was caught. They ran the cost-benefit analysis of the operation and decided it was worth the risk even if I did get caught. Their mistake was that they should've been more candid about why the operation was needed. Most of all, they should've been honest about why I was caught.

There was a CIA spy in the Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee with very high level clearances. How did I find out about this? Well, he brought a case against the CIA in federal court in New York complaining that he had received inadequate funds for his retirement. One of the things he did that he used as a reason for why he should've gotten more money for retirement was that he implicated me. He found out there was an Israeli spy in Naval Intelligence and the walls closed in on me eventually.

So the judge said, "I can't argue with the credibility of what you're saying, you're right, but I think this case should be done in Cameroon.” So he didn't like the end of it and came to Israel and then bragged about what he had done to me. So Esther went to the head of the Shin Bet at the time and said, "arrest him! Maybe you can trade him for my husband" and the answer was "we don't do that with the Americans". This was and still is known here [in Israel]!

The problem with all of this is that the American Jewish community and Israeli government were unwilling to stand up for their rights in the United States. They didn't have to like me or endorse what I did to be able to support my call for a proportionate sentence/equal justice. On the other hand, the Israeli government should've been more candid about explaining the operation instead of engaging both the leadership of American Jewry and the different governments of the US by hiding behind an argument of implausible deniability. They claimed that "they didn't know, it was a renegade operation."

My first plea agreement identified me as a bona fide agent working on an operation without intent to harm the United States. When I went to take my plea agreement, it had been edited all over in blue and red ink. The blue is for American edits and the red is for the foreign power. The blue ink had an initial next to it that was A.S., for Avraham Sofer, the legal counsel of the State Department. I couldn't make out the initials for the signature on the Israeli side.

The edits meant I was no longer considered an agent but was now designated as a renegade. It was no longer an approved operation but changed to something that was defined as an unauthorized operation. I looked at my lawyer and told him "I'm an orphan, I have no defense." He told me "look at your wife, she's not gonna make it physically. You want to be responsible for killing her?” When I was in front of the judge he asked me "are you taking this decision [for a plea agreement] of your free will?” I told him "no, the document you received is perjury. You saw the original and now this. You know what happened!"

He told me "you have a very difficult decision to make." I responded, "they're threatening to kill my wife!" The judge responded to my complaint by saying, "as i said, you have a difficult decision to make." And this whole scene played out in public court! This event was also known to the Jewish establishment. If I had been an African-American and I was faced with that situation, they would've been screaming and marching and I don't know what else. With me it was just "let's get him out of our face, let's bury him!” And bury me they did, 150 meters underground.

That house was nothing more than an elevator shaft. When I got down to the bottom, there were 31 other cells that were filled with people who weren't talking for various reasons. I was told by the warden of this very small facility "as I said before, look at the sky, look at the sun, breathe the air, the next time you see this, you'll be a dead man.” And I told him, "we'll see, God runs the world" and he replied "we'll see". So I was down there for 7 years. My cell was 3 meters by 3 meters, it was very small and I never came out. Nothing to read, nothing to write, no visit, no phone calls. I was told there 2 ways of coming out, you can talk or you can use the bar [of the door to hang yourself].

That’s when I made the reacquaintance of God because I realized I wasn't gonna make this on my own. I wasn’t going to kill myself, but the prospect of living I'm this shoebox for the rest of my life didn't appeal to me very much. So when I came back up to the light, I found out that all of the 31 prisoners that were down there had committed suicide. When I saw the warden I told him, "you see? God does run the world" and he knocked me out. I still have a tooth missing which I won't fill, because it's a remembrance that I got this guy so mad he knocked me out. The Israelis didn't stop, they sent somebody that I knew in order to tell me to essentially kill myself. The US monitor grabbed him and escorted him out and then returned and told me, “you know how politicians work, they use us, people like us. Promise me you won’t do anything stupid like that”.

So the lessons were not learned for the American Jewish community or the Israeli government. Did I learn any lessons from that? Yes, I learned a lot of lessons. If somebody invites you to jump off a cliff, tell them to jump first. This is the kind of practical lesson I learned during my experience. But do I feel I did anything wrong? No, I don’t. The question that I’ve always been asked is “if you had to do it again, knowing what you know now, would you reconsider”? And the answer is that "no, I would not. I would do it better the next time”. Every country has the right to self-defense, including Israel and that's something that American Jewry does not get even up until this present day.

America is no angel. Look, in my case they had a spy in the Knesset. Has anybody said anything since then? I haven't heard anything! This is a fact that can be researched! So when there's a community like the American Jewish community that is so scared that it doesn't understand its need to defend its right to equal justice then so much for [George] Washignton’s guarantee at the Touro synagogue that we would be treated as equals. But America’s Jewish leadership just doesn't get it.

One of those Jewish leaders who came to see me gave me an interesting answer to a question of mine. I asked him “what would happen if I came to talk to you about what was happening? We needed to do something about this”? He said, “I would’ve listened to you, offered you a cup of coffee and then called the FBI to have you arrested.” I answered, “really”? And he said, “yes, we don't need people like you running around. I didn't want to know what you knew, I just wanted to shut you up.” I asked him “what about the lives of millions of Israeli Jews” and he responded “that’s their responsibility”. So I told him “you haven't learned the lessons of the Holocaust and I guess you were missing from Hebrew school that day that we were taught about the importance of Jewish unity” and he said “no, that idea is for Hebrew school”. So it reinforced the low opinion I already had of American Jewish leadership.

Platform Mag: Was there any particular time during your imprisonment that was especially bleak? Perhaps your time in solitary confinement?

Jonathan Pollard: People have asked me whether I preferred to be with other prisoners or alone and clearly being in the open with the other cell mates was preferable despite all the risks. Those risks were preventable to a certain extent but when you're alone your worst enemy is your mind. It's the "little fear" that gets you as they say in Dune, more than anything else.

So being in isolation can be frightening. I knew what was going on, so I prepared myself for isolation. I divided my day up according to the meals that came in and focused on working on projects and exercising. So I kept myself very busy and at the end of the day I was exhausted and went right to sleep. When a person tries going to sleep, it can get dangerous because you feel the walls closing in all around you, but in my case I fell asleep quickly because I was tired from my schedule.

Platform Mag: During your time in prison, to what extent were you able to follow efforts to procure your release and what did it mean to you to see all the efforts by American and Israeli Jews to procure your release?

Jonathon Pollard: Well, Esther (of blessed memory) kept me fully appraised of what was going on outside of prison. I could get anything, I just didn't have any writing privileges and when I was in the open population [of the prison], I was restricted to a limited amount of minutes for communication with the outside world that I used to talk to Esther. I used that time speaking with her to discuss personal matters relating to our relationship and also to get information from the outside world.

Every week she sent me a box of information from the outside world with updates about everything that was going on in Israel and the United States. The updates didn't only cover my case, it covered lots of other information as well. I have 10,000 books in storage that I received from her, mostly covering technology or history, which allowed me to keep up with my interest in engineering. There were a huge amount of subscriptions to newspapers and magazines, everybody used to come to me for those things.

Actually, I was overwhelmed with information in prison, I was too well-informed. There were some things that I didn’t have an appreciation for, like bluetooth or the ubiquity of cellphones. When I got out of prison, I was horrified. I went to a restaurant with 4 kids and 2 adults and they were so absorbed in their cell phones. This was the type of dystopian future that I had read about. So those kinds of things surprised me.

Platform Mag: During your trial, the government alleged that you sold intelligence to other foreign governments aside from Israel, such as Argentina, South Africa, and Taiwan. Did you in fact pass any intelligence to any other countries besides Israel and if so, why?

Jonathon Pollard: No, the problem for the government is that they didn't have a case against me, as far as damage goes. So when you don't have the facts on your side, you make them up. The fact is I was the intelligence liaison officer for many countries. So a case could be made that I could have passed information on to any [of those countries].

Proving your innocence can be difficult. How do you prove a negative? It's hard but the proof is that I was never indicted for that. Trust me, if they had a scintilla of information linking me to transferring intelligence to these countries (for money or any other reason) they would’ve used it. That would have been another charge during my trial.

To be honest, they threw bullshit at me hoping that some of it would stick. Look, I admitted to being a Pakistani agent when I was caught. That’s what I was supposed to do and I had all the necessary items in my apartment to substantiate that admission. Why? Misdirection! So I could be evacuated and we'd leave mud on Pakistan.It was a good idea but you have to evacuate the agent, not abandon him or throw him out of the embassy. So yeah, I admitted to all kinds of things in the beginning but I was only indicted on the charge of spying for Israel without intent to harm and the country involved was Israel.

The judge told me I have two options with my sentencing: 1) I can sentence you for being a mercenary and you’ll serve a shorter period of time or 2) I can accept the fact that you’re an ideology and a bona-fide agent and your sentence will be life imprisonment without parole. People didn't understand my reaction because I told the judge “thank you, your honor”. Much better to rot in hell knowing that you’re being accused of the right thing, instead of getting out and having to live with being falsely accused of something you aren't. So that's why I said “thank you”. People thought I was being sarcastic. I wasn't, I was being very honest, I appreciated that.

Look, my ex-wife was in public relations and her firm at that time was dealing with a number of governments including the Chinese. So I had an open source directory of people at the embassy, that information was available to anyone interested. Well, they found that at her apartment and tried to accuse her of being a Chinese agent. She wasn’t, so they dropped that.

One of the charges brought against her was “conspiracy after the fact”, I didn’t even know what that meant. Well, it was a charge that was created to induce Mafia wives to rat on their husbands during interrogation, saying things like “you should’ve known that when he was giving you the diamonds and mink coat that he didn't have a job. So where was he getting this money"? So they tried to tell her that she should’ve known what I was doing. Well, the fact of the matter is that she was actively involved with the operation, but that's another story.

Platform Mag: It's no secret that many Jews believe that your sentence of life imprisonment was extremely draconian and unfair. Earlier you mentioned that the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff called your sentencing “a warning to the Jewish community”. Why do you believe the US government had a vested interest in seeing you receive such a harsh sentence and issuing a warning to the Jewish community in the US?

Jonathan Pollard: We’ve always been suspect in whatever country we’ve lived in throughout history. Why? We’re a very unique people that have been dedicated not only to survival but also the re-establishment of our biblical homeland. Well, for some people that sets off alarm bells. No matter how many Jews have died defending our homelands, we aren’t considered reliable people. We are suspects because of our very nature like no other people, except perhaps the Chinese right now. 

Unfortunately, there's a great deal of anti-semitism involved with this. No matter how loyal we are, we are suspected. This is for two reasons: 1) We have a great degree of communal loyalty towards our own people and 2) we have a commitment to re-establish a Jewish state in Israel. So that raises suspicions about the reliability of any Jew seeking government work. 

It also puts a lot of pressure on Jewish government workers like myself. My answer to people who complained to me after was “then how secure are we in this country? If one person can call into question the loyalty and political reliability of his entire community, then where are we living? What happened to our constitutional safeguards?” I told them “you shouldn't be worried about me, be worried about yourself!”

So nobody wants to turn the mirror around, I understand that. Still, there was a built in suspicion of the American Jewish community that pre-dated me. They just used me as a hoped for tool to call into question the reliability and patriotism of American Jews and the propriety of seeing Israel as an ally. The ulterior motive in this case, apart from scaring American Jews, was to have the characterization of Israel as an ally reframed to something less than that. If I had gone along with that agenda, who knows what might’ve happened.

Does the name Alfred Dreyfus ring a bell? That's just one example of not just a willingness but a need to see this member of the wandering tribe as the villain. It took a lot of bravery for Alexandre Dumas and others, to come forward and say, “no, he is innocent! Don't impugn the loyalty and reliability of his community.” The irony of Dreyfuss is that he wasn’t a particularly religiously observant Jew or dedicated to Jewish political causes.

Platform Mag: Can you describe your feelings when you were released from prison? Was it more of a euphoric experience than arriving in Israel? How does that compare?

Jonathan Pollard: Well the release from prison was a farce because I was basically in an open prison as opposed to a closed prison. It was tough because in many ways it was scarier for me then it was in prison. I remember one instance in New York where I thought Esther and I were done. There was a guy that came out of nowhere and threatened me. I looked back and there was someone also threatening Esther. I didn't have a knife or anything to defend myself. I saw a policeman down the street and started heading in his direction.

In prison you don't listen to a person, you watch their hands. So I was prepared to do whatever I had to do to defend my wife. Here’s the interesting thing, the captain of the prescient, a Jewish guy, showed up and had his people immediately check all the cameras in that area because there were banks everywhere. All the footage was scrubbed. Within the hour it took to get to those banks, someone, somehow had deleted all the footage of all 4 banks, for that specific corner of the street.

I looked at him and said, “what do you think”? He said to me “you know damn well what I think. This goes above us, you need to go to Washington DC to find out. They were clearly trying to intimidate you to the point that you would hit them or do something violent. You know very well that if you did anything, you’re going back to prison for the rest of your life."

So the Israeli ambassador at the time, Ron Dermer, made a very forceful protest over what had happened and received assurances that it wouldn’t happen again. So, it was a nice try. I asked the parole people, “can I get a gas gun, taser, or bulletproof vest”? They told me, “no”. I said “what am I supposed to do to defend my wife"? And they said “you do whatever you have to as a husband. We’ll try and defend you afterwards". The parole people weren’t bad. They were stuck doing a lousy job and they knew that I wasn’t a threat. So some of them would come over to my apartment and relax. Esther served them cake and coffee. I didn't feel threatened by them, they were someone to talk to. So they were okay, they were doing something that they were ordered to do by Washington [DC]. They didn’t necessarily like it and they thought it was a waste of time. So they were as reasonable with me, as they were allowed to be and I appreciated that very much.

Platform Mag: So regarding your arrival in Israel…

Jonathan Pollard: What was shocking to me was realizing that the country I thought I sacrificed myself for something that didn’t exist, it was a dream. Sacrificing yourself for a good dream is okay but when the reality sets in of who you were really working for, it creates a crisis. I had to remember that I didn’t work for any particular politician or faction or even the government, I worked for the land and people of Israel. I’m still having to remind myself of that.

I was appalled by the country I came back to and the hypocrisy, corruption, and cowardice I saw. It's only gotten worse now under the new government with the judicial reform and everything else. With the Israeli left, I really have to wonder where I am because of their collective insanity. I’ve talked to the protestors and they scare the hell out of me. I'm actually more comfortable with someone from Hamas then I am with the type of people like the Kaplan force. At least people from Hamas are rational, I understand them, they understand me. They want to kill me, I want to kill them.

These Kaplan people though they don't want to kill me, they want to convert and brainwash me. They want me to take the "red pill" and follow their orders. Well, I don't follow orders very well, to begin with.

When it comes to progressives, not liberals (I consider myself to be a liberal), they scare me more than the Iranian mullahs do. They're more totalitarian than anything I've encountered, apart from my mom or dad. Their attitude is "you will do as I tell you and you will like it". It's very scary to come home to this.

Esther told me soon after we arrived that there was a war coming. I understood that because that's the nature of living in Israel, you can have a war at any time. Then she said "but I won't be there to help you" and that got my attention. She said "the war we're talking about is not with Hezbollah, Hamas or even Iran, it'll be about the identity of the Jewish state". She said "you won't be prepared for what you're going to see" and she was right. In a sense, I'm thankful that she's not witnessing what we're seeing right now- this insanity.

I talked to a bunch of these kids that were blocking the road and I asked them "where are you guys from"? They answered "we're from Herzliya". I said "oh that's nice, how'd you get here?” They told me "we were given tickets". I asked "where are all the girls" and they replied "they're looking for bars to visit after we're done here, we're only here for another hour". I asked them "what's in the flier" and they answered "these are our talking points". I said "well, who gave you these" and they responded "the New Israel Foundation, our teacher in high school gave it to us". So I inquired further, "what were you told to say if someone like me came along?” "De-moc-ra-cy", they responded. I said "did we have a democratic election?” They answered, "Yes". I asked another question, "did you guys lose?” They said “yes” and I replied "get over it!”

They didn't like to hear that and I told them that they're a bunch of brainwashed punks. I guess no one had ever talked to them that way before. I told them "you guys are despicable, you're blocking a road, there are 2 ambulances waiting to pass. Why don't you get out of the way?” They said "no, we don't have to because this is a democracy, we have a right to sit here and block the road". I said "no, actually you don't, there's a law saying that you can go to jail for blocking a road. Did you know that?” They said, "no." I said "your teacher didn't tell you that, did she?” Again they responded "no" and I replied "be careful of people that volunteer you for things you know nothing about".

We got off the train once in Tel Aviv, there was one woman sitting on the ground and rocking back and forth in a trance. She kept repeating "De-moc-ra-cy" over and over again. Rivka and I just looked at her and we couldn't believe it, she was mentally ill.

I am not asking anyone to crack their heads open, I'm asking for the law to be applied as it's written that's all. It should be applied to the left and right, the Haredi or secular, I don't care. If you block a road, you should get arrested and go to jail. It should be the same thing if you block the trains or the roads outside of the airport. I'm not asking for any new laws, just the fair application of the laws that are already existing and apparently I'm a "fascist" because of that.

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