Father of Israeli agent Jonathan Pollard dies at 95

Morris Pollard passes away at Indiana hospital; his son had been seeking "compassionate leave" to see him one last time.

June 18, 2011 23:11
2 minute read.
Morris Pollard

Morris Pollard 311. (photo credit: University of Notre Dame)


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Israeli agent Jonathan Pollard's bid to see his father before he died ended tragically on Saturday morning when Morris Pollard, 95, died at Memorial Hospital and Health System in South Bend, Indiana.

Morris Pollard had been hospitalized for more than a week, suffering from the impact of a severe bladder infection. His rabbi at Temple Beth-El in South Bend, Eric Siroka, sent out a letter to his congregants informing them the funeral service would be held on Monday.

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Petition for Pollard to be sent to Biden

Pollard's family, American Jewish leaders and Knesset members had been lobbying for Jonathan to be granted what is called "compassionate leave" for 24 hours to allow him to see his father before he died. Jonathan spoke to Morris on the phone last weekend for the last time.

The effort will now shift to lobbying to enable Pollard to attend his father's funeral. He was not allowed to attend the funeral of his mother.

Morris Pollard was professor emeritus of biological sciences at Notre Dame University and an internationally recognized prostate cancer researcher. He published more than 300 scientific articles and studied disease mechanisms for more than 40 years.

His World War II research in the US Army's Veterinary Corps on typhus and exotic viruses from the Pacific Southwest earned Pollard a commendation medal and three presidential citations.

Morris Pollard led an unsuccessful battle to bring about his son's release from jail. He was responsible for initiating the latest wave of public calls upon US President Barack Obama to commute his son's sentence by persuading Lawrence Korb, an assistant secretary of defense at the time of Pollard's arrest, to join the cause.

Pollard wrote before his death that he cannot sleep at night knowing the injustice of his son's sentence.

"In more than two decades, no evidence has been put forth of damage caused to the United States as a result of Pollard's actions," he wrote in the Washington Post in November. "Nothing that could begin to justify a life sentence."

MK Arye Eldad (National Union) responded to the news of Morris Pollard's death with harsh words for US President Barack Obama for not releasing Jonathan Pollard to see his father before he died.

"The people of Israel will not forget Obama's cruelty, inflexibility and the maliciousness of ignoring all the requests and petitions for Jonathan's release." He added, "The US president, that wasn't even able to make this basic humane gesture, cannot wonder why the Jewish people will enlist all their powers to prevent his reelection."

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