Netanyahu's brother-in-law pleads for Pollard

Gil Hoffman - Jerusalem Post (front page, print edition) - October 25, 2010

Hagi Ben-Artzi writes PM strongly worded letter for the release of Israeli agent

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu's brother-in-law, Hagi Ben-Artzi, wrote the premier a strongly worded letter on Sunday in which he complained that he was not doing enough to bring about the release of Israeli agent Jonathan Pollard, who has served nearly

25 years of a life sentence

in an American prison.

Pollard's lawyers requested clemency from US President Barack Obama 10 days ago, following new revelations from American and Israeli officials involved in the case, that indicated that Pollard received a disproportionate sentence due to the anti- Israel agenda of the late US defense secretary Caspar Weinberger.

In a letter titled "Bibi? Why are you silent?" Ben-Artzi said the new developments necessitated an official, public call by Israel's government to the US government to grant Pollard clemency.

"The prime minister must take direct and active responsibility for undertaking the contacts, in order to bring to a conclusion one of the most deplorable affairs that the State of Israel has ever known and to bring about Pollard's immediate release," Ben-Artzi wrote, in a letter obtained exclusively by The Jerusalem Post. Ben-Artzi listed political, moral and humane reasons to urge Pollard's release, noting the deterioration of relations between Israel and the US under Obama, the flawed judicial process in Pollard's case, and his deteriorating health in his harsh prison conditions.

"In light of all of these facts and information, the question urgently arises: Why is Bibi silent?!" Ben-Artzi wrote.

"Where is the most basic responsibility of the State Israel towards a man who was an agent of the State and who contributed so much to its security? I appeal to you, Bibi, personally - and also as a citizen and a member of your own family - get up, say what needs to be said, and do what needs to be done!" Pollard's wife, Esther, said he was encouraged by Ben-Artzi's letter. She revealed that he had spent the weekend in "excruciating pain," attached to an IV infusion, downing painkillers and antibiotics without much relief because of his seriously compromised health.

"We are taught that words spoken from the heart, enter the heart," Pollard said via his wife. "May the words of this principled man, Hagi Ben-Artzi, enter the heart of the prime minister, and may he finally act to bring an Israeli agent in peril home before time runs out."

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