More than 60,000 people have signed a letter calling on President Shimon Peres to do whatever he can to free Jonathan Pollard. The campaign for Pollard's freedom has taken on new energy as the date on which Peres will be given the Medal of Freedom approaches.
Members of Knesset, Canadian rabbis and Gilad Shalit are among those who have called on Peres to turn down the prestigious prize if Pollard is not released.
On Thursday, Israel Prize winner, Rabbi Chaim Druckman joined the call. In a speech given at the Rabbis' Conference in Jerusalem, Rabbi Druckman appealed to his colleagues, "Please, do what you can so that Jonathan will leave jail alive."
Activists say the campaign is just getting started. Over the next few days, volunteers will take to the streets to distribute pamphlets explaining Pollard's plight and calling to sign the letter.
"As we get more signatures, we know that we are reaching wider circles, circles of people who may not have been sufficiently aware of the matter, who now understand that this isn't just a matter of justice but of life and death," campaign director Effie Yahav said.
Pollard, who is serving a life sentence for giving classified information to Israel, has become seriously ill and was recently hospitalized. He has since been released, but his condition remains poor.
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