Nightmare Anniversary: Pollard supporters to mark 28 years since Israeli spy's arrest

Pollard's wife maintains hope that US president Barack Obama would commute his sentence to the time he has already served.

Gil Hoffman - The Jerusalem Post - November 20, 2013

Israeli agent Jonathan Pollard will enter the 29th year of his life sentence Thursday, the 28th anniversary of his arrest outside the Israeli embassy in Washington.

Pollard's wife Esther said she and her husband had not lost hope that US president Barack Obama would commute his sentence to the time he has already served.

"It is a terrible blow to Jonathan and to me that all the anguish and suffering he has endured for a full 28 years in prison now continues into year 29," Esther Pollard said. "We had such high hopes that this nightmare anniversary would not occur again. After all the recent developments, we really hoped that by now we would be recovering from our ordeal and rebuilding our life, that we would finally live together here in Israel and get on with our life together."

She said she was encouraged by the numerous ranking American officials who have come out in support of her husband's release, the declassification of materials exonerating him, and many other factors. She called upon Obama to commute the sentence of her husband, whose health is deteriorating, as a matter of compassion and mercy.

MKs Hilik Bar (Labor), Ayelet Shaked (Bayit Yehudi) and David Azulai (Shas) jointly called for Pollard's release in a special discussion in the Knesset plenum. Bar said the effort to bring Pollard home crossed party lines. He complained that the US, which did not want Pollard's deeds to be seen positively, had made him a hero for holding him so long.

"Pollard paid a price for his actions that are higher and heavier than usual," Bar said. "He should be allowed to go home to Israel and his family."

The government's liaison to the Knesset, deputy minister Ophir Akunis (Likud) rejected charges that the government was not doing enough to bring Pollard home. He said the issue was in the hands not of the Israeli government but of the president of the United States.

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