Chief Ashkenazi Rabbi Yona Metzger wants US President Barack Obama to know that
unless he acts to release Israeli agent Jonathan Pollard, he will not be elected
for a second time in November 2012.
“If Obama wants another term as
president, he must immediately release Pollard,” the rabbi said on
Saturday.RELATED:The Pollard MomentumPat Robertson asks Obama to free PollardPeres asks Obama to grant clemency to Pollard
Speaking at the capital’s Yeshurun synagogue, Metzger stressed
that he was not making a prophecy, merely reflecting his feelings stemming from
the fact that “many Jews, who supported [Obama], are disappointed by his
indifference in the face of the many appeals by different authorities, including
heads of the [US] administration from the time Pollard was imprisoned, who
admitted that there is no longer a reason to hold him in captivity.” Metzger
added that “before Obama forces diplomatic measures [on Israel], he should prove
the mutual responsibility and friendship [between the US and Israel] he speaks
about, by releasing Pollard.”
In December, Pollard’s wife, Esther, held
emergency meetings with the two chief rabbis to initiate a major outcry to Jews
around the world in support of her husband’s release. Sephardi Chief Rabbi
Shlomo Amar said he would write Obama that Pollard remaining in jail would put
his life at risk. Metzger, who broke out into tears during his meeting
with Esther Pollard, called upon all Jews in Israel and the Diaspora to pray for
the well-being of Yonatan ben Malka, and for the public to flood the White House
with letters calling for his release.
New York Congressman Michael Grimm,
who has visited Pollard in jail, sent a letter to Obama on Sunday asking him to
free Pollard ahead of Pessah.
“It is patently clear that the sentence
was, and remains, terribly disproportionate, and (as several federal judges have
noted) constitutes a gross miscarriage of justice,” Grimm
wrote. “Commuting his sentence to time served would be a wholly
appropriate exercise of your power of clemency, as well as a matter of basic
fairness and American justice. It would also represent a clear act of
compassion and reconciliation – a sign of hope much needed in today’s world of
tension and turmoil.”
Gil Hoffman contributed to this report.
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