Netanyahu reassures Esther Pollard ahead of DC trip

Livni sends Obama letter urging him to release Israeli agent and making it clear to him that Israelis are united on the issue.

By GIL STERN STERN HOFFMAN
May 19, 2011 23:14
1 minute read.
Esther Pollard

Esther Pollard 311. (photo credit: Marc Israel Sellem)

 
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Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu did not meet with Israeli agent Jonathan Pollard’s wife, Esther, before he left for Washington on Thursday night, but he did reassure her that her husband’s fate would be on his agenda when he met with US President Barack Obama on Friday.

“While we did not meet, I received a personal message from the prime minister and the assurances we needed,” Esther Pollard said by phone from the Western Wall where she went to pray for her ailing husband’s health and his speedy release, as she does every day.

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Pollard said she was “hoping and praying her heart out” that the effort to save her husband’s life would succeed.

Opposition leader Tzipi Livni sent Obama a strongly worded letter on Thursday urging him to release Pollard and making it clear to him that Israelis were united on the issue.

“As you know, the people of Israel, as a democratic nation engaged in an unending struggle for its very existence, hold sharply differing opinions on many issues – which becomes apparent in full strength, especially during troubled times, such as we find ourselves in at present,” she wrote.

“Indeed, precisely because of this, it is so important to me, as leader of the opposition in Israel, to express to you that the request to release Jonathan Pollard enjoys the full support of all of the people of Israel. I am able to state with certainty that all of the people of Israel, just like so many legal experts and human rights activists throughout the world, would regard your decision to commute Pollard’s sentence and to release him without delay, as a humane act reflecting the values of justice and compassion, which is perhaps the moral basis underlying the deep and strong friendship between our two countries.”

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Asked whether she hoped Netanyahu would raise her husband’s fate in his speech in Congress on Tuesday in addition to his meeting with the president, Esther Pollard said that she and Jonathan would leave that to the prime minister’s judgment.

“After his meeting with the president, he will know what he needs to do,” she said.

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