Faction heads ask Biden for Pollard’s release

MK Uri Ariel (NU), chairman of the Knesset Lobby for Jonathan Pollard sends official request.

By REBECCA ANNA STOIL
March 10, 2010 23:32
1 minute read.
U.S. Vice President Joseph Biden, center, gestures

biden arrives in israel 311 ap. (photo credit: AP)

 
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The chairmen of all but one of the Knesset’s Zionist factions sent a missive Wednesday evening to US Vice President Joe Biden asking for his assistance in releasing jailed spy Jonathan Pollard from a US prison in time for Pessah.

“We are respectfully addressing you with an emotional request from the depth of our hearts – to act with compassion and kindness to the ill Jonathan Pollard, and to reduce his prison sentence as a symbolic gesture to the Jewish people in honor of Passover, the festival of our freedom,” wrote the MK Uri Ariel (NU), the chairman of the Knesset Lobby for Jonathan Pollard.

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“Passover, the festival of freedom for our nation is approaching, but the happiness of the holiday is dampened when we know that for the past 25 years, Jonathan Pollard is sitting in an American prison and that his health has recently dramatically declined. Jonathan, who has expressed regret for his actions, received a very harsh sentence, even in comparison to others punished by the United States for similar offenses.”

The MKs noted that the sentence for crimes similar to Pollard’s generally ranges between two to four years. In the letter, the MKs also referred to an interview that Biden had given in the past in which he had said that the request to reduce Pollard’s sentence was “completely rational.”

“Pollard’s release could add additional meaning this year to the concept of the festival of freedom for the Jewish people and would give true expression to the good and friendly relations between the two peoples. With God’s help, Pollard’s release will bring only good to America, which will be blessed from Above,” the Knesset members concluded.

The letter was co-signed by Kadima faction chair Dalia Itzik, coalition chair Ze’ev Elkin (Likud), Israel Beiteinu faction chair MK Robert Ilyatov, Shas faction chair Avraham Michaeli, Deputy Industry, Trade and Commerce Minister Orit Noked (Labor), UTJ faction chair Menahem Eliezer Moses, National Union chairman Ya’acov Katz, and Habayit Hayehudi faction chair Zevulun Orlev.

Meretz faction chairman MK Ilan Gilon declined to sign.

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