President Shimon Peres should use US president Barack Obama's decision to grant him the presidential medal of freedom as an opportunity to push Obama to free Israeli agent Jonathan Pollard, an online petition signed by thousands of Israelis said Monday.
Obama announced at the AIPAC Policy Conference three weeks ago that he would give Peres the medal. Peres's office said he had discussed Pollard's fate with Obama when they met in Washington ahead of the conference.
But Pollard is still serving the life sentence he was given more than 26 years ago for passing classified information to an ally. Obama has not responded to calls by many top current and former Israeli and American officials to commute Pollard's sentence to time served.
"Due to the superior values the medal represents, we feel we cannot reconcile you receiving it when the United States is still holding Pollard in prison," said the petition, which was signed by more than 11,600 people at press time.
"We ask you to take advantage of your unprecedented diplomatic standing in order to work for Jonathan's immediate release before you are given the medal. Otherwise receiving the medal would make a mockery of Israel."Read the full story here