Israelis petition for Pollard's release - March 27, 2012

JERUSALEM - Thousands of Israelis signed a


calling on President Shimon Peres to secure the release of convicted spy Jonathan Pollard, jailed in the United States.

Pollard worked as an intelligence analyst at the U.S. Naval Intelligence Command and was sentenced to life in 1987 for spying for Israel.

Some 10,000 Israelis have signed the petition demanding the president seek Pollard's release before accepting the presidential Medal of Freedom from U.S. President Barack Obama, Yedioth Ahronoth said Tuesday.

Speaking at the American Israel Public Affairs Committee conference in Washington last month, Obama announced he would award Peres the medal.

Israeli political officials, academics, artists and actors are among those who signed the petition, the Hebrew language daily said.

"Due to the superior values the medal represents, we feel we cannot reconcile you receiving it when the United States is still holding Pollard in prison," the petition reads, adding, "We ask you to take advantage of your unprecedented diplomatic standing in order to work for Jonathan's immediate release before you are given the medal. Otherwise receiving the medal would make a mockery of Israel."

Peres is due to receive the medal at a ceremony in Washington June 13.

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