Ayalon: Peres should ask US for Pollard's release

Deputy FM tells Army Radio president should intervene on Jonathan's behalf so that he could see ailing father; Steinitz: "This is a basic request."

June 12, 2011 11:41
1 minute read.
Deputy Foreign Minister Danny Ayalon

Danny Ayalon 311. (photo credit: Courtesy)

Deputy Foreign Minister Danny Ayalon and Finance Minister Yuval Steinitz on Sunday told Army Radio that President Shimon Peres should intervene in efforts to free Jonathan Pollard, and ask the US for the imprisoned Israeli agent's release.

The ministers also called on Peres to advance a request by Pollard to leave jail so that he could see his ailing father.

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In an interview with Israel Radio, Ayalon said that in the current situation, which prevents Pollard from being with his father "in the last moments before his death," the Pollard family should not remain alone in their struggle to free Jonathan.

"The president, as head of the state and as a person that deals also with issues that are not political, is the best person to submit a request [on Jonathan's behalf]," Ayalon said.

Steinitz echoed Ayalon's comments, saying that the request to allow Pollard to sit at his father's bedside should be respected. "This is a basic request," he said. "Pollard should have been able to reunite with his family and to come to Israel a long time ago."

The ministers' comments come after advocates for the release of the Israeli agent redoubled their efforts this weekend to persuade US President Barack Obama to enable him to visit his father on his deathbed.

Pollard advocates have been in touch with Israeli and American government officials and Jewish organizations in America to persuade them to grant Pollard "compassionate leave" to see his father for the last time.

Gil Hoffman contributed to this report.

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