Emotion charged meeting between Peres, Esther Pollard

"By saving Jonathan's life and bringing him home now, you will actually be saving two souls -- Jonathan's and mine!" Israeli agent's wife says.

Greer Fay Cashman - The Jerusalem Post - April 3, 2011

Before leaving for Washington on Sunday to meet with US President Barack Obama, President Shimon Peres held an emotion charged meeting at Beit Hanassi with Esther Pollard the wife of convicted spy Jonathan Pollard who is now entering his 26th year of captivity within the framework of a life sentence for having passed classified information to Israel.

While Pollard's supporters acknowledge that he did deserve some form of punishment, they have consistently noted that transferring classified information to a friendly country is decidedly different from giving state secrets to the enemy.

A tearful Esther Pollard implored Peres to save two lives - Jonathan's and her own by seeking Jonathan Pollard's immediate release when talking to Obama. " By saving Jonathan's life and bringing him home now, you will actually be saving two souls -- Jonathan's and mine!" she said.

The terminology, "bringing him home" is the correct one - and not merely an expression related to the Law of Return. Pollard was granted Israeli citizenship in 1995.

In recent years, prominent American figures including former and present leading politicians, legal experts, academics, religious leaders of many faiths and rank and file Americans have voiced their opinions and signed petitions to the effect that Pollard's sentence was disproportionately harsh and that his continued incarceration is unjust.

Esther Pollard listed some of these personalities in her conversation with Peres, noting that today her husband has support from elected officials of both parties.

Unable to contain her tears, Esther Pollard, who has spent the whole of her married life campaigning for her husband's release, broke down temporarily.

Already aware of much of what she told him, Peres listened with interest and empathy, nodding in agreement when she emphasized the humanitarian aspect of her plea, and promised that he would bring this to the attention of Obama.

Jonathan Pollard has been in ill health for some time and his condition is deteriorating. Esther Pollard has asked the public to redouble their prayers on behalf of Yehonatan ben Malka, in the hope that both his health and his freedom might be restored. There is nothing that she would want more than to have him celebrate Passover, the festival of freedom in Israel with her.

Whether President Obama will demonstrate more courage and humanity than his four immediate predecessors still remains to be seen...

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