Full Text Israel Political Brief November 20, 2015: PM Benjamin Netanyahu’s Statement on the Release of Jonathan Pollard

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PM Netanyahu’s Statement on the Release of Jonathan Pollard

Source: PMO, 11-20-15

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, this morning, issued the following statement on the release of Jonathan Pollard:

“The people of Israel welcome the release of Jonathan Pollard. As someone who raised Jonathan’s case for years with successive American presidents, I had long hoped this day would come. After three long and difficult decades, Jonathan has been reunited with his family. May this Sabbath bring him much joy and peace that will continue in the years and decades ahead.”

Israel Political Brief January 1, 2014: Knesset asks President Shimon Peres to intercede for Jonathan Pollard

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Knesset asks Peres to intercede for Pollard

Source: JTA, 1-1-14

A petition signed by 106 Knesset members calling for the release of Jonathan Pollard, held in a U.S. prison for over 28 years for spying for Israel, was presented to Israeli President Shimon Peres….READ MORE

Israel Musings December 30, 2013: Netanyahu to make Pollard major condition in the peace talks as Kerry returns

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Netanyahu to make Pollard major condition in the peace talks as Kerry returns

By Bonnie K. Goodman

United States Secretary of State John Kerry is set to return to the Middle East for his 10th trip since March 2013 in attempt to advance the Israeli Palestinians peace talks after a freak snowstorm cut short his trip to…READ MORE

Full Text Israel Political Brief December 22, 2013: PM Benjamin Netanyahu’s Remarks at the Start of the Weekly Cabinet Meeting on Jonathan Pollard and Illegal Migrants

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PM Netanyahu’s Remarks at the Start of the Weekly Cabinet Meeting

Source: PMO, 12-22-13

יום ראשון י”ט טבת תשע”ד

Photo by GPO

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu made the following remarks at the start of the weekly Cabinet meeting:

“We do not need any special event in order to discuss the release of Jonathan Pollard. We are dealing with it. I am dealing with it, with all US presidents, including President Obama, all the time, including now. We hope that the conditions will be created that will enable us to bring Jonathan home. This is neither conditional on, nor related to, recent events, even though we have given our opinion on these developments.

Illegal migrants cannot be allowed to take the law into their own hands. We will enforce the law and we will deport them according to law. It must be understood that the State of Israel cannot absorb those seeking work. While we certainly treat genuine refugees with respect and uphold our obligations under the international commitment on this issue, we cannot allow an open border for illegal labor migrants from Africa or any other place. We will not allow this. We blocked illegal migration and we are committed to deporting those who succeeded in migrating here before we blocked the border, and we will carry out this commitment, if not down to the last migrant then certainly regarding most of them. This is both our intention and our mission.”

Israel Political Brief March 24, 2013: MKs call for leaving Seder seat open for Jonathan Pollard

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MKs call for leaving Seder seat open for Pollard

Source: Jerusalem Post, 3-24-13‎

MKs hold mock seder ending with a toast to Pollard and a reading of a prayer for the Israel agent’s welfare….READ MORE

Israel Political Brief March 6, 2013: Israeli Knesset discusses jailed spy Jonathan Pollard

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Israeli Knesset discusses jailed spy Jonathan Pollard

Source: Haaretz, 3-6-13

Israeli Knesset discusses jailed spy Jonathan Pollard. Israel made mistakes in handling of the case, says public diplomacy minister; Lapid signs petition calling for Pollard’s release….READ MORE

Israel Political Brief March 5, 2013: Jonathan Pollard clemency petition reaches 103,000 signatures

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Pollard clemency petition reaches 103,000 signatures

Source: JTA, 3-5-13

More than 103,000 people have signed a petition calling on President Obama to free imprisoned spy for Israel Jonathan Pollard….READ MORE

Israel Political Brief March 10, 2013: PM Benjamin Netanyahu Meeting with Esther Pollard

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PM Netanyahu Meets with Esther Pollard

Source: PMO, 3-4-13

יום שני כ”ב אדר תשע”ג

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, this afternoon, met with Esther Pollard, wife of Jonathan Pollard. Former US Assistant Secretary of Defense Lawrence Korb and Effie Lahav, head of the Committee to Free Jonathan Pollard, also attended the meeting.

At the start of the meeting, Prime Minister Netanyahu said, “The time has long since come for Jonathan to go free. This issue will come up during President Obama’s visit. It has already been raised countless times by myself and others, and the time has come for him to go free.”

Esther Pollard said, “Jonathan can’t anymore. This is a golden opportunity now that the President of the United States is coming. If not now, when?”

Israel Political Brief July 31, 2012: Knesset Members Urge Mitt Romney to Release Jonathan Pollard

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Knesset members urge Romney to release Pollard

Source: JTA, 7-31-12

Knesset leaders have sent a letter to Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney urging him to grant clemency to Jonathan Pollard if elected president….READ MORE

Israel Political Brief July 17, 2012: Jonathan Pollard supporters call Sec of State Hillary Clinton’s remarks a ‘slap in the face’

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Pollard supporters call Clinton’s remarks a ‘slap in the face’

Source: JTA, 7-17-12

Supporters of Jonathan Pollard called Hillary Clinton’s remarks rejecting his possible clemency “a resounding slap in the face” to Israel’s leaders and its people….READ MORE

Israel Political Brief June 11, 2012: President Shimon Peres Will Ask President Barack Obama for Humanitarian Pardon for Jonathan Pollard

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Peres Will Ask Obama for Humanitarian Pardon for Pollard

President Shimon Peres will ask President Barack Obama to grant a pardon for Jonathan Pollard on humanitarian grounds.

Source: Israel National News, 6-11-12

Shimon Peres and Jonathan Pollard

Shimon Peres and Jonathan Pollard
INN archive photo

President Shimon Peres will ask President Barack Obama to grant a pardon for Jonathan Pollard on humanitarian grounds.

Pollard, incarcerated for some 27 years on a single charge of passing classified information to an ally (Israel), has been in increasingly poor health. He was hospitalized several times over the past year, including for emergency surgery.

Peres has said he will discuss the issue of a pardon for Pollard with Obama during a private meeting. Since he is himself a president who has the ability to grant pardons, Peres said, he understands the many concerns involved.

The Israeli president spoke with reporters at a briefing he held at Blair House, the official White House guest residence at which he is staying while in Washington D.C.

The issue will come as one of a number of other items to be discussed this week between the two men….READ MORE

Peres in U.S. will press for Pollard’s release

Source: JTA, 6-10-12

Israeli President Shimon Peres, in the U.S. to receive the Presidential Medal of Freedom, will press President Obama and other American officials to release Jonathan Pollard. Peres, who will meet with American officials ahead of the medal’s presentation at the White House on Wednesday, is carrying a petition signed by some 70,000 Israelis calling for Pollard’s release…READ MORE

Israel Political Brief June 11, 2012: When President Obama Awards President Shimon Peres the Presidential Medal of Freedom Could be Jonathan Pollard’s Last Chance for Freedom

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Obama’s ‘Freedom’ Award to Peres May be Pollard’s Last Chance

Jonathan Pollard and millions of Jews are hoping Obama will free him from jail when he awards Peres the US Freedom Medallion Wednesday.

Source: Israel National News, 6-11-12

Free Pollard protest

Free Pollard protest
Israel news photo: Flash 90

Jonathan Pollard and millions of Jews are hoping President Barack Obama will free him from jail when he awards visiting President Shimon Peres the U.S Presidential Freedom Medal Wednesday.

In the cold world of politics, the “Jewish vote” may be the only factor that determines the fate of Pollard, who has been languishing in prison for more than 26 years.

With all polls showing that President Obama has 60-64 percent of the Jewish vote, as opposed to 78 percent four years ago, his political calculations of how many votes he can gain for Pollard’s freedom probably will outweigh humanitarian considerations.

However, the act of working on behalf of a foreign country, even if an ally, claws deeply into the skin of American patriotism, and American Jews are far from united on whether the U.S. president should exercise his authority and pardon Pollard, despite his deteriorating health.

Pollard was sentenced to life for a crime that usually carries a punishment of 2-4 years in jail – passing on classified information on behalf of a foreign country.

He was not convicted of spying, but mainstream media continue to call him a “spy for Israel.” The information Pollard handed over while working at the Pentagon is believed to have involved the Iraqi nuclear reactor, which Israel subsequently destroyed in a bombing raid. The information was not damaging to U.S. security, and an increasing number of American officials have said that Pollard did not get a fair trial and was punished unfairly.

The award of the Freedom Medal to President Peres will give him a prime time opportunity to free Pollard. Pres is arriving with a petition from 70,000 Israelis, backed by media support from the entire political spectrum, for freeing Pollard….READ MORE

Israel Political Brief May 31, 2012: US Jewish Leaders Ask President Barack Obama to Let Jonathan Pollard Go Free

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U.S. Jewish Leaders: Obama, Let Pollard Go

Conservative Rabbis stream told Obama Pollard has served an unprecedented period of time in jail.
Free Pollard protest

Free Pollard protest
Israel news photo: Flash 90

Rabbis from the Conservative Jewish stream met with President Barack Obama Wednesday and asked him to set Jonathan Pollard free immediately.

As justification for the request, the rabbis said that the time served by Pollard was unprecedented in view of his offenses, and noted his deteriorating health.

The meeting was originally planned to be held with White House Chief of Staff, Jack Lew. However, Obama popped in for a surprise visit.

Former U.S. Secretary of State Henry Kissinger will be among the guests at the gala dinner in which President Shimon Peres will receive the Medal of Freedom. Kissinger recently published a letter which includes the statement that “justice will be done by the immediate freeing of Pollard.”

Israel Political Brief May 18, 2012: More than 60,000 Call for Jonathan Pollard’s Freedom

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More than 60,000 Call for Pollard’s Freedom

More than 60,000 call on Peres to help free Pollard before it is too late.

Western Wall rally for Pollard's release

Western Wall rally for Pollard’s release
Israel news photo: Flash 90

More than 60,000 people have signed a letter calling on President Shimon Peres to do whatever he can to free Jonathan Pollard. The campaign for Pollard’s freedom has taken on new energy as the date on which Peres will be given the Medal of Freedom approaches.

Members of Knesset, Canadian rabbis and Gilad Shalit are among those who have called on Peres to turn down the prestigious prize if Pollard is not released.

On Thursday, Israel Prize winner, Rabbi Chaim Druckman joined the call. In a speech given at the Rabbis’ Conference in Jerusalem, Rabbi Druckman appealed to his colleagues, “Please, do what you can so that Jonathan will leave jail alive.”

Activists say the campaign is just getting started. Over the next few days, volunteers will take to the streets to distribute pamphlets explaining Pollard’s plight and calling to sign the letter.

“As we get more signatures, we know that we are reaching wider circles, circles of people who may not have been sufficiently aware of the matter, who now understand that this isn’t just a matter of justice but of life and death,” campaign director Effie Yahav said.

Pollard, who is serving a life sentence for giving classified information to Israel, has become seriously ill and was recently hospitalized. He has since been released, but his condition remains poor.

Israel Political Brief May 9, 2012: Montreal Rabbis, Academics Urge President Shimon Peres to Advocate for Jonathan Pollard

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Canadian Rabbis Urge Peres to Advocate for Pollard

Int’l Jewry continues to press Israel’s leaders to act on behalf of Johnathan Pollard.
Pollard

Pollard
Israel news photomontage

President Shimon Peres received a letter from a delegation of rabbis and professors in Montreal, Canada imploring him to seek the release of convicted Israeli spy Jonathan Pollard.

To the Honourable President Peres,
We warmly welcome you to our community in Montreal. As a distinguished representative of the State of Israel and the Jewish people worldwide, it is our pleasure to host you. We all share your pride at being awarded the US Presidential Medal of Freedom.
As representatives of the Jewish community of Canada, we support your humanitarian appeal to President Obama for clemency for Jonathan Pollard. The Jewish community of Montreal stands behind your efforts on behalf of the release of Jonathan Pollard. We would like to encourage you and to ask that you act according to the best of your abilities so that your appeal will be answered in the affirmative.
Mr. President, we all recognize that your efforts can bring about Jonathan’s release and save his life. Please act in order to bring this terrible tragedy to an end.
Sincerely,
Rabbi Shachar Orenstein, Spanish and Portuguese Synagogue – President of Rabbinical
Council of Canada
Rabbi Benjamin Weiss, Chief Rabbi of Montreal
Rabbi David Sabbah, Chief Rabbi of Quebec
Rabbi Jacob Benaroch, Young Israel of Chomedy
Rabbi Tuvia Hoffman, Beth Zion
Rabbi Moshe Jablon, Beth Ora
Rabbi Asher Jacobson, Chevra Kadisha
Rabbi Mendel Kaufman, Young Israel of Montreal
Rabbi Ronnie Fine, Chabad of Queen Mary
Rabbi Leibel Fine, Chabad of Dollard des Ormeaux
Rabbi Mark Fishman, Assistant Rabbi Beth Tikvah
Rabbi Dov Harrouch, Jewish Experience
Rabbi Michael Harrosch, Jewish Experience
Rabbi Leibish Hundert, former rabbi of Ghetto Shul
Rabbi Nadav Levin, Kollel Torah Mitzion
Rabbi Avraham Marouani, Or Shalom
Rabbi Dovid Merling, Agudath Israel
Rabbi Moishe New, Montreal Torah Center
Rabbi Moise Ohana, Or HaHayim
Rabbi Ben Vago, Hillel House
Rabbi Yossi Shanowitz, Chabad West Mount
Rabbi Zushe Silberstein, Chabad Chabanel
Rabbi Pesach Sperlin, Chabad of Montreal West
Rabbi Chaim Steinmetz, Tiferet Beth David Jerusalem
Rabbi Shmuly Weiss, Chabad McGill
Rabbi Mordecai Zeitz, Beth Tikvah Ahavat Shalom Nusach Hoari
Prof. Fred Krantz, Canadian Institute of Jewish Research (CIJR)
Prof. Philip Carl Salzman, McGill University
Prof. Gil Troy, McGill University
Pollard, a Jewish-American convicted by the United States on one count of supplying classified data to a foreign nation, has been serving a sentence of life without parole since 4 March 1987.
In recent years, as Pollard’s health has deteriorated, his release has become a growing concern of the American Jewish community – and Israel’s nationalist camp.
The disproportionate length of Pollard’s sentence when compared to other’s convicted of the same crime – almost always less that 7 years – has also become a point of contention with American Jews.
Both Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and President Shimon Peres personally asked US President Barack Obama to grant Pollard clemency on humanitarian grounds during their respective meetings in the White House earlier this year.
Peres made a second, direct personal appeal to Obama for Pollard’s release following the latter’s sudden hospitalization on April 4.
Israel’s president is expected to ask Obama to grant Pollard clemency a third time when he recieves the Medal of Freedom in Washington DC in June.
Peres will carry with him a letter bearing the signatures of 80 Israeli lawmakers.

Israel Political Brief April 15, 2012: Jonathan Pollard moved from hospital to prison

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Pollard moved from hospital to prison

Source: JTA, 4-15-12

Jonathan Pollard was transferred from a federal hospital to his prison cell.

Pollard, who reportedly was rushed to a hospital outside of the prison on the eve of Passover suffering from an unspecified emergency condition, was returned to Butner Federal Correctional Complex in North Carolina on Sunday, according to the Justice for Jonathan Pollard organization.

Pollard was permitted to make a short call to his wife, Esther, who reported that he sounded weak and it seemed hard for him to speak, according to the organization.

Esther Pollard told her husband that Israeli President Shimon Peres had appealed personally to President Obama to grant clemency to the convicted spy for Israel. Peres has not received an official reply to his letter, according to his office.

Pollard asked his wife to thank Peres and urge him not to back down.

Pollard has suffered from a variety of illnesses since being imprisoned for life in 1986.

“He has been returned to his unit in the prison, where he is compelled to work no matter how weak or sick he may feel,” Esther Pollard said in a statement. “He is not receiving much-needed follow-up medical care. It is only a matter of time until the next medical crisis occurs.”

She added, “I fear for his life if he remains in prison.”

Israel Political Brief April 9, 2012: Obama White House Rejects President Shimon Peres’ Plea to Release Jonathan Pollard

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White House denies Pollard appeal

Washington rejects President Peres’ plea for humanitarian clemency on behalf of ailing spy; National Security Council says US ‘has no intention’ of releasing him
Source: YNet News, 4-9-12

The White House announced Monday that the US administration has rejected President Shimon Peres‘ request to grant convicted spy Jonathan Pollard clemency.

“Our position has not changed in this case,” National Security Council Spokesperson Tommy Vietor said.

Related stories:

The Obama Administration “has no intention to release Pollard,” he added.

Earlier, Peres sent a personal letter to US President Barack Obama in which he asked him to pardon the convicted spy on humanitarian grounds.

Pollard is serving a life sentence in a North Carolina penitentiary. The 57-year-old’s health has been deteriorating over the past few years and he took another turn for the worst on Friday, when he was rushed to a civilian hospital. He currently remains in serious, yet stable condition.

In the letter, Peres thanked Obama for his loyalty to the Jewish State, but noted that Israel is very concerned about Pollard’s waning health.

News of Pollard’s hospitalization renewed calls within the Israeli government to push Washington for his release.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, chief rabbis Yona Metzger and Shlomo Amar as well as Shas’ spiritual leader Rabbi Ovadia Yosef, all joined in the call urging the US to pardon the ailing spy.

Still, prior to sending Obama the letter Peres noted that while he would do everything in his power to help, “There are other American considerations that I am not familiar with.”

The idea of Pollard’s release is not without support in the US.

Other than the various groups campaigning for his release, former top officials in the US administration agree that given the fact that Pollard has already served 27 years in prison, Washington should not automatically negate the possibility of a pardon.

Among those who voice their support for Pollard’s release are former secretaries of state Henry Kissinger and George Shultz and CIA director James Woolsey.

Israel Political Brief April 9, 2012: President Shimon Peres sends letter to President Barack Obama requesting Jonathan Pollard clemency

 

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Peres sends letter to Obama requesting Pollard clemency

Source: JTA, 4-9-12

Israeli President Shimon Peres sent a personal letter to President Obama requesting clemency for Jonathan Pollard.

The letter, sent Monday, cited Pollard’s severe health situation in requesting that he be released from Butner Federal Correctional Complex in North Carolina, where he is serving a life sentence for spying for Israel.

The letter was delivered to Obama via U.S. Ambassador Dan Shapiro. Obama received the letter Monday afternoon, Haaretz reported.

Pollard reportedly was rushed to a hospital outside of the prison on the eve of Passover suffering from an unspecified emergency condition. He has suffered from a variety of illnesses since being imprisoned in 1986.

Obama announced last month that he would award Peres with the Presidential Medal of Freedom in June; a petition signed by more than 35,000 Israelis has called on Peres to link the awarding of the medal to clemency for Pollard. Former captive Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit signed the petition last week.

Peres on Monday also received a petition signed by 80 Israeli lawmakers calling on Obama to release Pollard, according to reports.

Peres met Sunday with Pollard’s wife, Esther, who appealed to the president to request her husband’s release “before it is too late.”

“I appeal to you as Jonathan’s wife so that you might use your influence because I do not want to be his widow,” Esther Pollard reportedly told Peres on Sunday. “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.”

Israel Political Brief March 5, 2012: Pres. Shimon Peres & PM Benjamin Netanyahu discuss Jonathan Pollard release with President Barack Obama

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Peres, Bibi bringing up Pollard release with Obama

Source: JTA, 3-5-12

Israeli President Shimon Peres asked President Obama to release convicted spy-for-Israel Jonathan Pollard.

Peres told Pollard’s wife, Esther, on Monday that he discussed the possibility of releasing Jonathan Pollard, who has been jailed for 27 years since being convicted of espionage in 1987 and sentenced to life in prison, during his meeting with Obama on Sunday at the AIPAC policy conference in Washington.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu also was set to raise the issue of releasing Pollard with the U.S. president during Monday’s meeting, the Prime Minister’s Office told Ynet.

American Jewish groups have long sought Pollard’s release, arguing that he has received a sentence far harsher than others convicted of similar espionage crimes. Pollard also has expressed remorse and is said to be suffering from medical ailments.

In recent years, a renewed push on his behalf has gained support from a number of members of Congress from both parties as well as former U.S. government officials.

Israel Political Brief November 22, 2011: VP Joe Biden meets with Jewish leaders on Jonathan Pollard

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Biden meets with Jewish leaders on Pollard

Source: JTA, 11-22-11

Vice President Joseph Biden met with several Jewish American leaders to discuss the case of convicted spy for Israel Jonathan Pollard.

During Monday evening’s meeting, Biden reportedly listened to the seven American Jewish leaders, who made a case for the severity of the sentence and the support of U.S. political leaders for clemency, Ynet reported. The newspaper did not name the participants.

Biden promised last month that he would meet with Jewish leaders on the Pollard case after telling rabbis at a political meeting in Florida that “President Obama was considering clemency, but I told him, ‘Over my dead body are we going to let him out before his time.’ ”

Jewish organizational leaders from across the political and religious spectrum have called on successive presidents to grant clemency to Pollard, a U.S. Navy civilian analyst who was sentenced to life in prison in 1987 for spying for Israel. In recent months, Obama has received a flood of clemency appeals on behalf of Pollard from members of Congress, former U.S. government officials and Israeli officials.

On Monday, Pollard entered his 27th year in prison in the United States.

Pollard’s wife, Esther, said in a statement issued Monday that her husband may not survive another year in prison.

“In the last year, as Jonathan’s [medical] condition became worse, he was too weak to even sit through a one-hour visit. I feel he’s withering away in front of my very eyes,” Esther Pollard said in the statement.

She added that after “26 years, all his systems are feeble and we both know that the next emergency hospitalization or operation are just a matter a time, and that no one is promising us he’ll make it through.”…READ MORE

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