YERUSHALAYIM - Jonathan Pollard received support from a new direction on Monday, as Yesh Atid chairman Yair Lapid declared his intention to do everything possible to secure his release from prison.
Esther Pollard described her meeting with Lapid as "exciting and very touching." He presented himself as a "strong advocate" for Jonathan's release and promised to devote himself and his faction to working "like crazy" to make it happen, she said.
Lapid told a gathering of his party members that he had an emotional conversation with Jonathan Pollard earlier in the day.
"Esther Pollard was meeting me and in the course of the conversation, Jonathan called her on the phone from jail," Lapid said. "So we went outside to talk a little. It was a conversation that truly brought tears to my eyes, and I do not mean that figuratively.
"It was a conversation with a desperate and broken man and no one wants to pick up this glove," he continued. "We will do everything in our power to pick up the glove."
Lapid's emergence as a Pollard advocate comes as the Pollard campaign gears up for the visit to Israel of U.S. President Barack Obama on March 20.
An important feature of the campaign is a mass petition which will be hand-delivered to
Obama by a senior Israeli official. The petition urges the president to release Jonathan without delay as a matter of simple justice and as a humanitarian gesture since his health is failing. After only a few days, the petition had garnered some 40,000 signatures, and organizers are aiming to increase the number exponentially in the days leading up to the presidential visit.
In a short few weeks from now, Jonathan Pollard will have served 10,000 days in prison, an anniversary no one wants to celebrate.
Both Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and President Shimon Peres are expected to ask President Obama for Jonathan Pollard's release, as stated in recent Israeli media reports.