Jonathan and Esther Pollard 370.
(photo credit: Courtesy of Justice4JP)
Israeli agent Jonathan Pollard’s wife, Esther, wrote President Shimon Peres over
the weekend, complaining about a statement he made on Thursday that she said
broke her heart.
Speaking at the Ben-Gurion Prize Awards in Tel Aviv,
Peres praised the administration in Washington, saying: “There is no Israeli
request that President [Barack] Obama has not responded to
Peres formally requested
that Obama commute Pollard’s life
sentence in April 2012, ahead of a June ceremony in Washington in which Obama
gave Peres the Presidential Medal of Freedom.
Obama has not responded
formally to the request.
Thursday marks the 28th anniversary of Pollard’s
“Particularly at this time – when my husband is about to enter
year 29 in prison – your words, Mr. President, were like a knife in my heart,”
“How can you dismiss Jonathan as if he does not exist? How can
I tell this to Jonathan without devastating him? It would destroy what little is
left of his health and morale to hear.”
Esther Pollard told Peres that
American officials had told her that if he made a serious and unequivocal
request for her husband’s release, Obama would respond favorably. She said that
she saw his statements on Thursday and her husband’s continued incarceration as
proof that Peres had not made a serious request.
“Should I tell Jonathan
you have now confirmed what we have feared all along – that there never was a
serious, compelling request for Jonathan’s release?” she asked. “That the issue
really isn’t a priority for you? That you seem to have made it clear that as far
as you are concerned, Jonathan is as good as dead, God forbid?”
She urged Peres
to “invest your full stature in a just and humane compelling appeal” to Obama to
release her husband.
“I am not asking you, Mr. President, for fancy
declarations or public pronouncements,” she wrote. “The only thing that will
prove to us that you have done what you need to do is Jonathan being
National Council of Young Israel executive vice president emeritus
Rabbi Pesach Lerner, who spearheads efforts for Pollard’s release in the US,
noted that the Americans had no evidence against the agent when they arrested
him, and only obtained evidence when then-prime minister Peres ordered the return
of all US documents that Pollard had passed to Israel – with his fingerprints
still on them.
“Israel has the dubious honor of being the first and only
country in the world to cooperate in the indictment and prosecution of its own
agent,” Lerner said. “It would go a long way toward making amends if Peres would
do whatever is necessary to bring Jonathan home now, alive.”