Pollard's Release Would Boost National Morale

Hillel Fendel - IsraelNationalNews - May 2, 2008

(IsraelNN.com) With U.S. President George W. Bush on his way to Israel next week for Israel's 60th birthday, and with Prime Minister Ehud Olmert under police investigation yet again, Esther Pollard says her husband's release now would provide a much-needed national boost of morale.

Israeli agent Jonathan Pollard has served 22.5 years of a

life sentence

- unprecedented for the crime of which he was convicted, namely, passing classified information to Israel, a U.S. ally. Many Israelis had looked forward to Bush's May 13th visit as an opportunity to pardon and release Jonathan Pollard from U.S. prison. Esther Pollard feels that the current investigation against Olmert should not detract from the chances of seeing her husband here at home. "Jonathan's return home now would have a tremendously positive effect on the country," she told Israel National News. "It would be a great morale booster, and that's why Olmert owes it to his country to request this of Bush."

"There is no more morally fitting and appropriate act that Olmert could do at this time," Mrs. Pollard said, "than to make a genuine request for Jonathan's release. This would not only redeem a man who has sat so long in prison for saving Israel, but also redeem Olmert's own very soiled and tarnished reputation."

Mrs. Pollard added that the Americans themselves "would look favorably on a principled request of this nature... not to mention that Bush, too, would not mind finding a way to climb down from the tall tree America has climbed in this matter, having sentenced him to such a disproportionate term in prison."

Jonathan Pollard is the only person in the history of the United States to receive a life sentence for spying for an American ally. The maximum sentence today for such an offence is 10 years. The median sentence for this offence is 2 to 4 years.

She emphasized that the media frenzy sourrounding the recent revelations that another American Jew, Ben-Ami Kadish, is suspected of spying for Israel over 25 years ago should have no effect on her husband's release: "The President's powers of executive clemency are unlimited, just as President Clinton demonstrated in September of 1999 when he released the FALN terrorists against the advice of his cabinet, and in spite of an onslaught of bad press. Similarly, there is no limit to Bush's ability to release Pollard."

"Imagine the Cleansing Effect..."

"As religious people," Esther said, "Jonathan and I believe that Olmert's failure to ask for his release up to now is beyond understanding - and almost beyond tshuvah [repentance]. But he can still redress this wrong now - not by turning the matter into a public relations gimmick, but by making the request in the proper way. Imagine the cleansing effect it would have on himself, and for the whole country."