Media Release: President Shimon Peres meets with Esther Pollard


Jerusalem, 8 April 2012


President Shimon Peres today (Sunday), 8.4.12, at his Jerusalem Residence, met with Esther Pollard, wife of Jonathan Pollard, the leaders of the Knesset lobby for the release of Jonathan Pollard, MK Uri Ariel and MK Ronit Tirosh, and Effie Lahav, head of the Committee to Free Pollard.

At the beginning of the meeting, President Peres told Esther Pollard, "I am very disturbed and worried by the latest reports on Jonathan's health. It is my duty as President to be an emissary and use all means at my disposal vis--vis the American administration to expedite Jonathan's release. I intend to work quickly, taking into account the most serious considerations, and to appeal to President Obama and request that, in light of his severe health situation and after having sat for many long years in an American prison, he positively consider releasing Jonathan Pollard from prison. As a president, who personally signs pardons for prisoners in Israel, one of the main considerations in my decision is the health of the prisoner and this would be one of the main justifications that I will pass on to President Obama since this is a serious humanitarian and moral consideration given the severe state of his health."

Esther Pollard told President Peres, "Mr. President, time is running out. I know that there is no possibility of bringing forward your meeting with President Obama but I do not sleep at night. I appeal to you as Jonathan's wife so that you might use your influence because I do not want to be his widow. Nobody in Israel has a greater status than yours in Washington and I ask that you use this great influence on Jonathan's behalf. Jonathan's strength is slipping away and I do not know what will happen the next time I receive a telephone call about his health problems." Esther Pollard updated President Peres that according to the reports she received last night, Jonathan is still fighting to recover in hospital and the team of doctors is trying to stabilize his situation. She emphasized that it is important to act so that her husband is not returned to prison and added that doing so would be tantamount to a death sentence. She added, "I ask that you appeal to President Obama today on humanitarian grounds and ask that he not be returned to prison."

Knesset lobby chairman MK Uri Ariel told President Peres, "Mr. President, I submit to you a letter for President Obama that has been signed by 81 MKs and which calls on him to release Jonathan Pollard. We would be very grateful if you would deliver this letter at your meeting with President Obama in June. We are asking the President of the State of Israel not to wait until the Presidential Medal of freedom award ceremony and even now present this official request to the US President that he pardons Jonathan Pollard on humanitarian grounds forthwith."

MK Ronit Tirosh told President Peres, "In 1996, you granted Israeli citizenship to Jonathan Pollard thereby proving that all Israel is responsible, one for the other. The signatures on the letter that we are presenting to you cross party lines and reflect the will of all the people in Israel who anticipate Jonathan Pollard's release."

Esther Pollard and the Committee leaders thanked President Peres for his willingness to use the full weight of his office to work for Jonathan Pollard's release.

For more information: Ayelet Frish - Spokeswoman for the President - 972-50-620-5111 Meital Jaslovitz - Foreign Media Coordinator 972-50-420-5230

  • See Also: Esther Pollard's Remarks to Pres. Peres at Emergency Meeting: J4JPnews