Livnat Appeals To US For Pollard Release

March 17, 1998 - Batsheva Tsur - The Jerusalem Post

As part of the stepped-up government campaign to secure Jonathan Pollard's release, Communications Minister Limor Livnat last night called on the US to allow the convicted spy to come to Israel.

US Ambassador Edward Walker sat in the audience at the Jerusalem Theater alongside some 500 members of the Hadassah "Miracle Mission" group, which was concluding a week-long visit here, as Livnat made an impassioned plea at the end of her address.

"I must make a point of mentioning the plight of one Jew, Jonathan Pollard, especially in the presence of the US ambassador," she said. "Jonathan has said that what he did was wrong. He has expressed deep remorse, but the fact of the matter is that after 12 years in prison, he has been punished more than any other person in American history for his crime.

"It is time to let him out," she said. "A presidential pardon now would not be seen as a compromise. It would serve the cause of justice. It would be a humanitarian gesture. Most of all, Mr. Walker - and I urge you to convey this to the White House - enabling Jonathan Pollard to come to live in Israel with his wife is the right thing to do."

Livnat's words received a warm ovation from the audience and Hadassah president Marlene Post expressed admiration for her leadership. Last year Livnat followed the lead of Absorption Minister Yuli Edelstein and visited Pollard in his Butner, North Carolina prison.

Last night Livnat also said she could see "no finer gift to Israel for its fiftieth anniversary" than relocating the US Embassy to Jerusalem.

Walker did not respond to Livnat's remarks in his address.

Meanwhile, MK Ophir Pines (Labor) head of the Knesset lobby for Pollard, yesterday distributed letters to MKs calling on them to visit Pollard in jail. He said such a visit could be coordinated by him or by the Foreign Ministry.