Esther Pollard: Jonathan willing to take risk of PM calling for his release
(Original title: Esther Pollard Dares Netanyahu to take a risk)
Gil Hoffman - The Jerusalem Post - December 8, 2010
Esther Pollard criticizes government's approach to getting her husband released, says: "PM's continued silence tantamount to death sentence."
Israeli agent Jonathan Pollard's wife Esther reacted with outrage on Tuesday to Cabinet Secretary Zvi Hauser's refusal to change the government's approach in its efforts to bring about her husband's release.
At a meeting of the Knesset State Control Committee on Tuesday, Hauser resisted calls from MKs across the political spectrum the previous day to change their strategy, which he said was well thought out and ideal under the current circumstances.
"The only thing that has never been tried by any government of Israel is an open call for Jonathan's release," Esther said. "For the cabinet secretary to claim that a public call for Jonathan's release and an official request is too risky and would somehow jeopardize the efforts to free him is twisted logic and morally bereft. Jonathan is willing to take the risk and to bear any consequences of an open call for his release by the Prime Minister of Israel."
Esther Pollard blamed Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu for sending Hauser to the committee to refuse a policy change for her husband, who has served more than 25 years of a life sentence for passing classified information to an ally.
"How dare Netanyahu deny him this opportunity to finally go free?" she said. "Mr. Netanyahu knows that without a clear open call for Jonathan's release and an official request to President Obama, Jonathan has no chance of being released. In the light of all the recent revelations of the massive injustice that is keeping Jonathan in prison needlessly, Mr. Netanyahu's continued silence is tantamount to a death sentence."
The Knesset's meeting on Pollard was overshadowed by Netanyahu's decision to bring the agent's impoverished ex-wife Anne to Israel and provide her with funding.
National Council of Young Israel executive vice president Rabbi Pesach Lerner, who heads the Pollard campaign in the US, called upon Netanyahu to have his government also fund the expenses of Jonathan for the first time.
"Jonathan Pollard has no help or support from the government of Israel so his friends do everything we can to pick up the slack," Lerner said.
"The National Council of Young Israel pays for all of Jonathan's expenses in prison including phone calls and food; his lawyers work pro bono; and when we must, we turn to American congressmen, not to Israel, for help with medical emergencies."
Lerner called for Netanyahu to make an immediate public call for Jonathan's release and an official request to US President Barack Obama.
"This month is clemency season in the US," Lerner aid. "In the light of recent revelations in the case, an official request from the prime minister of Israel would surely be looked upon with favor. Mr. Netanyahu, the ball is in your court!"
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See Also: Government resists change on Pollard