Pollard to Oren: Tell Obama to act before it's too late

By GIL STERN STERN HOFFMAN
July 26, 2011 22:54

Israeli envoy's visit nearly canceled due to Jonathan's poor health; Esther Pollard on husband: "I don't know how much longer he will manage."

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Esther Pollard

Esther Pollard 311. (photo credit: Marc Israel Sellem)

Israeli agent Jonathan Pollard asked visiting ambassador Michael Oren Tuesday to plead his case before US president Barack Obama "before it's too late."

Oren became the first representative of Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu to visit Pollard in his North Carolina prison cell since his term began. The visit was nearly canceled due to Pollard's poor health.

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Pollard and his wife Esther explained to Oren the problems with the Israeli agent's health, the extreme pain he is enduring, and the urgency for him to heal as a free man.

"I don't know how much longer he will manage to keep going," Esther Pollard said. "Jonathan was supposed to have an urgent operation, but the administration of the prison canceled it due to the visit. He was really disappointed by this timing conflict because he remains in terrible pain and in need of an urgent operation."

Oren caused an uproar when he suggested in an interview with a Washington radio station last June that Pollard had been part of a rogue operation.

"Jonathan Pollard occurred in the mid-1980s," Oren told the station. "Now, we're talking about an event that was run by a rogue organization in the Israeli intelligence community. That was, what, 25 years ago?"

Netanyahu released a rare statement refuting his ambassador following reports of the interview, saying that "Pollard worked as an agent of the State of Israel, and no one is trying to deny this."

But Oren made a more favorable impression on Pollard when he worked unsuccessfully to try to get him granted compassionate leave to attend the funeral of his father, Prof. Morris Pollard, who died June 18.


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