Minister Erdan to PM Netanyahu: Raise Pollard in Congress
Environment Protection Minister asks PM to include a call for the Israeli agent's release during speech in the US.
Gil Hoffman - Jerusalem Post - May 4, 2011
Environmental Protection Minister Gilad Erdan sent a letter to Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu on Wednesday asking him to include a call for the release of Israeli agent Jonathan Pollard when he speaks to Congress at the end of the month in Washington.
Erdan, who as an MK headed the Pollard lobby, said Netanyahu should follow up his plea for Pollard's release, which he delivered in January at the Knesset, by asking the congressmen to push US president Barack Obama to release Pollard.
"This is a critical time for Jonathan Pollard due to his poor health," Erdan wrote Netanyahu. "Every day that passes could God forbid be the last to act before it is too late. If senators and congressmen join the calls for Pollard's release from many top American officials, it could have a significant impact on Obama's long-awaited decision."
Erdan said Pollard was one of the few issues that united the entire Knesset. The 112 MKs representing Zionist parties signed a letter to Obama asking for Pollard's release six months ago.
"We agree with the United States that it was a mistake to use an agent to spy in America," Erdan wrote. "But we must remember that Jonathan acted as an agent of all of us. We cannot miss any opportunity to call for his release after more than 25 years of a sentence disproportionate to other spies who passed information to an ally."
Pollard appealed to Obama to commute his sentence and allow him to go home to Israel for Passover in a letter hand delivered to Obama by President Shimon Peres last month. The letter received no response from Obama, who also did not react when Peres brought up Pollard's fate when he met with Obama at the White House on April 5.
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