Pollard protest outside president's residence 370.
(photo credit: Gil Hoffman)
Some 5,000 Israelis demonstrated outside President Shimon Peres’s official
residence in Jerusalem on Tuesday, calling upon him to use his influence to
persuade US President Barack Obama to commute the life sentence of Israeli agent
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Obama's visit to Israel
Pollard’s wife Esther delivered an online petition
backed by 200,000 Israelis to Peres Tuesday. She was accompanied by Jewish
Agency chairman Natan Sharansky, a former prisoner of Zion in Russia.
the rally, she said that 200,000 Israelis were the equivalent of 50,000,000
Americans, as a portion of the population. She said the rally was like a
petition that had come to life.
“Mr President, we’re asking for your
compassion and mercy, to heal this rift between our nations,” she said. “We are
approaching Passover. Let Jonathan come to the Seder table and be free for the
first time in 28 years.”
Sharansky, who served in a Soviet prison for
less than 10 years, said he could not fathom being incarcerated for the more
than 27 years Pollard has served. He said serving time was easier knowing the
Israeli and American Jewish public were behind him and would not abandon
While in the past the Free Pollard movement was led by Rightists,
recently people associated with the Left have become involved, including Ron
Pundak, Gershon Baskin, and former MK Ophir Paz-Pines. The rally was addressed
by Veteran Kibbutz Movement leader Yoel Marshak and Shimshon Liebman, who led
the fight for Gilad Schalit’s freedom.
Schalit wrote a letter to Obama
Tuesday asking him to release Pollard.