Israeli agent Jonathan Pollard hopes he will be released from prison in time to pay a hospital visit to former prime minister Ariel Sharon before the 85-year-old politician dies, a close associate of Pollard said Wednesday.

Sharon remained in critical condition with his life at risk at Sheba Medical Center Wednesday. The hospital did not release new information about any changes in his health status.

“Jonathan feels he owes Sharon a debt of gratitude that no one else is aware of,” the Pollard associate said.

“He would very much like to have a chance to pay his respects to Sharon before he dies.”

The associate said Pollard’s interest in Sharon was connected to the 1987 Eban Commission Report, which was the Knesset’s official investigation of the Pollard Case. The report revealed Sharon’s role right after Pollard’s arrest.

“Sharon was the only one who fought tooth and nail with then-prime minister Shimon Peres and the rest of the cabinet, arguing with them not to return the US documents that Pollard had provided to Israel,” the associate said. “Sharon warned that doing so would endanger the agent’s life.”

According to the Eban Report, Sharon argued that Israel must first rescue Pollard and then do whatever else was deemed necessary.

He was adamant that Israel do nothing until the safe return of its agent was first assured.

The Eban Report indicated that two other ministers supported Sharon’s position, but he was out-voted and Peres’s promise to then-US secretary of state George Schultz to return the documents was ratified. The report also confirmed that the documents were the only evidence the US had on Pollard.

Without the documents which bore his fingerprints, the prosecution would not have had a case against him.

When the cabinet voted to return the documents, the report said Sharon declared: “You have just killed the agent!”

Sources close to Pollard said that, twice a day, Pollard uses part of his small allotment of the telephone time he receives from the prison to ask for updates on Sharon’s condition.

“He is hoping that Sharon will hang on, so that he will have the opportunity to say good-bye in person, the way that he was never able to say good-bye to his own father,” a source close to Pollard said.

“As a child, Jonathan’s hero and role model was his father, Dr. Morris Pollard, a world-renowned professor and award-winning microbiologist, as well as a decorated US soldier and war hero. Later in life, he looked up to another war hero as well, and that was Sharon. Jonathan has made a lifelong study of military history, and his respect for Sharon as a military officer, commander, paratrooper, and military strategist never wavered, despite his deep disappointment in Sharon as a politician and a prime minister.”

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