President Peres meets with Esther Pollard.
(photo credit: Mark Neiman/GPO)
President Shimon Peres convinced Jonathan Pollard’s wife, Esther Sunday that he would work for the release of Israeli agent Jonathan Pollard during his visit to Washington this week.
Peres renewed his commitment to the issue when he met with Esther in preparation for his final working meeting Wednesday with US President Barack Obama.
“It is a national responsibility to work to free Pollard,” Peres said. “I will speak to President Barack Obama on behalf of the people of Israel.”
Esther said she was heartened and hopeful after the meeting, which was also attended by MKs Nachman Shai (Labor) and Ayelet Shaked (Bayit Yehudi) who head the Knesset Caucus to Free Jonathan Pollard.
She said Peres was more committed and determined than ever to make a last-ditch effort “to bring Jonathan home before it is too late.”
Shai and Shaked said they were convinced that Peres would do his utmost on his last opportunity as head of state to persuade Obama to release Pollard on humanitarian grounds.
“He was very focused and to the point,” said Esther, adding that Peres had said that this would be a focal issue in his talks with Obama, as president to president.
He said that he too receives requests for pardons and clemency, so he understands Obama’s dilemma.
Esther described the meeting as “good” and “emotional.”
She had no doubt that Peres would “pull out all the stops” in this last attempt.
“I’m very hopeful”, she said.
Shai said that Peres was placing great significance on the Pollard affair and had said that it was a privilege and an obligation to once again raise the issue with Obama.
Shai was convinced that Peres would put the whole weight of his office, his influence and his status as the world’s senior statesman behind this last request to Obama, and was hopeful that Obama “in a moment of grace” would accede.
If anyone can facilitate Pollard’s release, Shaked said, it is Peres.
“Pollard should be released on both moral and humanitarian grounds,” she said.