Mitzna blames Pollard's continued incarceration on PM
Labor MKs Isaac Herzog and Amir Peretz also endorsed the effort to bring about Pollard's release, each saying "Everything possible should be done to free him."
Gil Hoffman - The Jerusalem Post - May 6, 2011
Labor leadership candidate Amram Mitzna followed up on his criticism of Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu for the current diplomatic stalemate by blaming him for the continued imprisonment of Israeli agent Jonathan Pollard.
Netanyahu formally requested that US President Barack Obama commute Pollard's sentence to time served in a speech at the Knesset in January. He is being pressured to mention Pollard in his upcoming speech to Congress and meeting with Obama on May 20.
"If Obama and Netanyahu had a more constructive relationship, it would no doubt help them reach an agreement on Pollard," Mitzna said. "We need to make an effort for a man who helped our country. We have to do what it takes to bring him home."
When he was mayor of Haifa in 1995, Mitzna wrote a letter to Pollard's wife Esther endorsing the effort to bring her husband home. The letter was similar to those written more recently by Israeli leaders and former American officials.
"Serving 10 years in an American prison for the crime that he was indicted for is without doubt a long period that carries the heaviest penalty," Mitzna wrote.
"I believe the time has come for the United States government to act in favor of the release of Jonathan Pollard from prison in America, an act that will allow him to make aliya and start a new life."
Labor MKs Isaac Herzog and Amir Peretz, who are running against Mitzna and three other candidates in the September 12 vote for party chairman, also endorsed the effort to bring about Pollard's release, each saying "Everything possible should be done to free him."
Herzog will hold a campaign rally at the Tel Aviv port on Friday morning in an effort to sign up as many new Labor members as possible ahead of the June 7 registration drive deadline.
MK Shelly Yacimovich and venture capitalist Erel Margalit, who are also running, have events scheduled for Tel Aviv over the weekend as well.
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