Israeli Ambassador Set To Visit Pollard

Israeli Ambassador to U.S. Danny Ayalon set to meet with convicted spy Jonathan Pollard next Tuesday; Sharon, Shalom decide on pro-active approach to facilitate his release

YNET - Doron Sheffer - May 9 2005

Israeli Ambassador to the U.S. Danny Ayalon is expected to meet with convicted spy Jonathan Pollard, Prime Minister Ariel Sharon and Foreign Minister Silvan Shalom decided during a meeting Monday.

Pollard has been imprisoned in the U.S. for the past 20 years for spying on Israel's behalf.

Sharon and Shalom decided a more pro-active approach is necessary to facilitate the release of Pollard, who has complained for some time of harsh prison conditions.

"Sharon and I agreed that action must be taken to bring Pollard back to Israel," Shalom said.

Ayalon's visit with Pollard, which is scheduled for next Tuesday, would be the first - ever by an Israeli ambassador to the U.S.

Israeli public figures, including ministers and Knesset members, have held private visits with Pollard during their U.S. trips, but Israel has not sent an official representative to visit the convict in a long time.

Earlier Shalom said in a meeting with E.U. ambassadors in Jerusalem "20 years in prison is too long a period. It is time Pollard be released and join his nation in Israel."

The Jerusalem-based Committee To Bring Jonathan Pollard Home said in a statement "We were very surprised to hear Shalom's statement, because from what we were informed during the past 20 years, especially since Sharon took power, Israel has not ceased to act steadfastly for his release."

"It is time to stop with the talking and turn to actions that would lead to his release," the statement said.