Tel Aviv Chief Rabbi Yisrael Meir Lau wrote US President Barack Obama on Friday,
urging him to commute the sentence of Israeli agent Jonathan Pollard to the more
than 27 years he has served.
Lau asked for Pollard’s freedom in a letter
full of biblical quotations and references to former US president Abraham
Lincoln, civil rights leader Martin Luther King Jr. and the Statue of Liberty.
The rabbi warned of Pollard’s deteriorating health and pleaded with Obama to
release the Israeli agent before he died in prison.
admission and his regret, Jonathan continues to serve a sentence unprecedented
in American history [for the crime he committed],” Lau wrote. “His health is
fleeting and the remainder of his life is diminishing.”
In the letter,
Lau quoted a verse in the Book of Samuel that warns that Jonathan could die. He
notes that the Jonathan in the book is the son of King Saul but that it also
applies to Pollard.
Lau asked Obama to permit Pollard to move to Israel
and become a father.
He noted that Pollard would soon mark the
unfortunate milestone of 10,000 days in prison.
“Let him live the rest of
his life with his wife, Esther, in the State of Israel that granted him
citizenship,” Lau wrote. “This action would be seen as a humanitarian gesture by
the seekers of freedom in the world.”
Lau will have an opportunity to
raise Pollard’s fate directly with Obama, because he will be with him when Obama
visits Yad Vashem, of which Lau heads the board of directors, next
Meanwhile, Likud MK Moshe Feiglin wrote on Facebook that if Obama
comes to Israel without releasing Pollard, he will boycott his visit and other
legislators should as well.
“I call on MKs to join me in leaving the
Knesset empty during the speech of the president of the country that continues
to hold our brother in captivity,” Feiglin wrote.