Knesset to hold meeting on Israeli spy in US jail

Bayit Yehudi MK: It’s our moral responsibility to end cruel saga; Shai: Incarceration raises questions about US justice system.

March 5, 2013 01:54
1 minute read.
Justice for Jonathan Pollard

Esther and Jonathan Pollard 311. (photo credit: Reuters)

The Knesset will discuss imprisoned Israeli spy Jonathan Pollard on Wednesday, ahead of US President Barack Obama’s visit later this month.

Temporary Knesset Speaker Binyamin Ben-Eliezer (Labor) agreed to a request from MK Yoni Chetboun (Bayit Yehudi) to hold an official plenary discussion.

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“Pollard’s release is not a political issue or a concern of a specific segment of society,” Chetboun explained. “It is a national consensus that crosses [political] camps.”

The Bayit Yehudi MK called for his fellow lawmakers on the Right and Left to take part in the discussion.

“It is our moral responsibility as members of Knesset to act in order to bring Pollard’s immediate release and an end to this cruel saga,” he added.

Former assistant US secretary of defense Lawrence Korb, who was defense secretary Caspar Weinberger’s deputy at the time of Pollard’s arrest in 1985 and has been active in calling for Pollard’s release, will also attend the Knesset meeting.

Labor MK Nachman Shai wrote a letter to Ben-Eliezer last week, saying the Knesset must put Pollard on its agenda and express a wide consensus in favor of his release.

“We need a broad, intensive public effort to free Pollard,” Shai wrote. “It is our duty as MKs to give a platform to the major efforts in Israel and abroad to free him soon.”

On Monday, Shai also asked Education Minister Gideon Sa’ar to instruct schools to dedicate an hour to discussing Pollard in the context of Obama’s upcoming visit and US-Israel relations.

“[Pollard’s] continued incarceration raises questions about the American justice system,” Shai said.

“The State of Israel should stand by Pollard’s side and demand his release from President Obama.”

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