Thousands rally for Pollard's freedom in J'lem

5,000 demonstrate outside President Peres's residence, calling for his help in convincing Obama to release the Israeli spy.

March 19, 2013 22:29
1 minute read.
Thousands protest outside the President's Residence for Jonathan Pollard's release, March 19, 2013.

Pollard protest outside president's residence 370. (photo credit: Gil Hoffman)


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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 Jonathan Pollard.

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.

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At 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 him.

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.

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