Jerusalem – Thousands Rally For Pollard’s Freedom

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    Israeli protesters holding placards depicting US President Barack Obama as a pharao and placards calling to release Jonathan Pollard as some 1,000 people demonstrate outside the US President's residence calling for the release of the Jewish spy Jonathan Pollard, a Jewish American who was jailed for life in 1987 on charges of spying on the United States, in Jerusalem, 19 March 2013. US President Barack Obama is expected to arrive on 20 March for a two-day visit to Israel and the Palestinian Authority.  EPA/ABIR SULTANJerusalem – Some 5,000 Israelis demonstrated outside President Shimon Peres’s official residence Tuesday, calling upon him to use his influence to persuade US President Barack Obama to commute the life sentence of Israeli agent Jonathan Pollard.

    Pollard’s wife Esther delivered an online petition backed by 200,000 Israelis to Peres Tuesday. She was accompanied by Jewish Agency chairman Natan Sharansky, a former prisoner of Zion in Russia.

    At the rally, she said that 200,000 Israelis were the equivalent of 50,000,000 Americans, as a portion of the population. She said the rally was like a petition that had come to life.

    “Mr President, we’re asking for your compassion and mercy, to heal this rift between our nations,” she said. “We are approaching Passover. Let Jonathan come to the seder table and be free for the first time in 28 years.”

    Sharansky, who served in a Soviet prison for less than ten years, said he could not fathom being incarcerated for the more than 27 years Pollard has served. He said serving time was easier knowing the Israeli and American Jewish public were behind him and would not abandon him.
     Israeli protesters holding a banner with a drawing of US President Barack Obama (L) and Jonathan Pollard as some 1,000 people demonstrate outside the President's residence calling for the release of the Jewish spy Jonathan Pollard, a Jewish American who was jailed for life in 1987 on charges of spying on the United States, in Jerusalem, 19 March 2013. US President Barack Obama is expected to arrive on 20 March for a two-day visit to Israel and the Palestinian Authority.  EPA/ABIR SULTAN
    While in the past the Free Pollard movement was led by Rightists, recently people associated with the Left have become involved, including Ron Pundak, Gershon Baskin, and former MK Ophir Paz-Pines. The rally was addressed by Veteran Kibbutz Movement leader Yoel Marshak and Shimshon Liebman, who led the fight for Gilad Schalit’s freedom.

    Schalit wrote a letter to Obama Tuesday asking him to release Pollard.

    Pollard is a former US Navy intelligence analyst that began spying for Israel in 1984. He was discovered 18 months later and after a failed bid to take refuge in the Israeli embassy, and was sentenced to life in prison.

    In an interview on Israeli television in advance of his visit President Obama said he did not intend to release Pollard “immediately.” He said Pollard had “committed a very serious crime” and was “serving his time.”

    Content is provided courtesy of the Jerusalem Post


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