Jonathan Pollard 311 (R).
(photo credit: Courtesy of Justice for Jonathan Pollard)
Labor leadership candidate Amram Mitzna followed up on his criticism of Prime
Minister Binyamin Netanyahu for the current diplomatic stalemate by blaming him
for the continued imprisonment of Israeli agent Jonathan
Netanyahu formally requested that US President Barack Obama
commute Pollard’s sentence to time served in a speech at the Knesset in January.
He is being pressured to mention Pollard in his upcoming speech to Congress and
meeting with Obama on May 20.
“If Obama and Netanyahu had a more
constructive relationship, it would no doubt help them reach an agreement on
Pollard,” Mitzna said. “We need to make an effort for a man who helped our
country. We have to do what it takes to bring him home.”
When he was
mayor of Haifa in 1995, Mitzna wrote a letter to Pollard’s wife Esther endorsing
the effort to bring her husband home. The letter was similar to those written
more recently by Israeli leaders and former American officials.
10 years in an American prison for the crime that he was indicted for is without
doubt a long period that carries the heaviest penalty,” Mitzna wrote.
believe the time has come for the United States government to act in favor of
the release of Jonathan Pollard from prison in America, an act that will allow
him to make aliya and start a new life.”
Labor MKs Isaac Herzog and Amir
Peretz, who are running against Mitzna and three other candidates in the
September 12 vote for party chairman, also endorsed the effort to bring about
Pollard’s release, each saying “Everything possible should be done to free
Herzog will hold a campaign rally at the Tel Aviv port on Friday
morning in an effort to sign up as many new Labor members as possible ahead of
the June 7 registration drive deadline.
MK Shelly Yacimovich and venture
capitalist Erel Margalit, who are also running, have events scheduled for Tel
Aviv over the weekend as well.