Pollard Push Gains Steam

Hillel Fendel - IsraelNN.com - Jan 12, 2009

Jews around the world are hoping that efforts to have Jonathan Pollard released from prison have begun their final week, and that outgoing U.S. President George W. Bush will in fact grant him clemency by the end of his term, only eight days from now.

Rabbi Pesach Lerner, Executive Vice President of National Council of Young Israel, spoke at the Young Israel of Forest Hills last week about his recent visits to Pollard in prison with Chief Rabbi Yona Metzger, Pastor Tom Hagee, and others. He corrected the mis-impression that Pollard had been convicted of treason, saying that he was charged only with "passing classified information to an ally" - and that the charge sheet specifically added, "without intent to harm the United States."

[Click here to see video of Rabbi Pesach Lerner's presentation on the Pollard case.]

Rabbi Lerner said that Pastor Hagee told him after the meeting, "You know, I'm a man of faith. Faith is my business, and that's what I do all day. But I have to tell you: I have never seen a man of faith like that man we just left in that cell."

Yehonatan ben Malka's Mother Asks

A unique request was made of President Shimon Peres on Sunday when he paid a condolence call to the family of Captian Yehonatan Netanel, who was killed in battle in Gaza. The bereaved mother, Malka, told Peres, "You know, it was my son's dream that Pollard should be released. His name was Yehonatan ben [son of] Malka, and I now ask you to do all you can to ensure that Jonathan Pollard - also Yehonatan ben Malka - be freed from prison."

Phone Campaign Continuing at Full Steam

The phone-in campaign to the White House for Pollard is continuing at full-steam, and organizers say that the pressure must not be let up - despite the ever-increasing volume of calls. After being swamped in recent weeks with calls asking for clemency for Pollard, the White House hired an additional group of operators to handle the onslaught. Even this did not help, however, and the White House has now announced the closing of comment lines until after the inauguration of the incoming president on January 20, 2009.

Organizers of the phone-in campaign encourage Pollard supporters to keep calling nonetheless, via the main switchboard number: 202-456-1414.