Social Welfare Minister Moshe Kahlon on Tuesday decided to visit Israeli agent Jonathan Pollard at his Butner, North Carolina prison cell next week, but Pollard's wife Esther said her husband's poor health made the visit extremely unlikely.

Kahlon received good publicity for deciding to visit Pollard. The story led the highly rated Channel 2 evening news.

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Esther Pollard expressed concern that her husband's health could not only prevent the visit from taking place but it also could result in US President Barack Obama not granting him clemency fast enough to see the light of day.

"I am very puzzled that this visit was announced given Jonathan's state of health," she said. "There is grave doubt that visit will take place. This is not a time for announcing high-profile visits. It's a time for intensive activity to ensure that Jonathan comes home alive."

Pollard has served more than 25 years of a life sentence for passing classified information to an ally. Former US Secretary of State Henry Kissinger became the latest in a long line of former senior American officials to ask Obama to release Pollard on Monday. Public Diplomacy and Diaspora Affairs Minister Yuli Edelstein was the first sitting-minister to visit Pollard in 1996.

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