Metzger asks Bush to pardon Pollard

In letter, Chief Rabbi says release would serve as testimony to Israel-US alliance, friendship.

Pollard 248.88 (photo credit: AP)
Pollard 248.88
(photo credit: AP)
Chief Ashkenazi Rabbi of Israel Yona Metzger sent a letter Monday afternoon to outgoing US President George Bush requesting that he pardon Jonathan Pollard. "I believe that it would be a humanitarian act to release Jonathan Pollard from prison," wrote Metzger. "The act would be seen as a friendly act directed at the Jewish people in the Land of Israel and serve as testimony to the alliance and friendship between Israel and the US." Metzger pointed out that Polllard has already been in prison for 24 years and that spies from enemy states have received shorter sentences. He also said that Pollard had expressed regret for what he had done. "Millions of Jews around the world are hoping and praying for his release." Metzger visited Pollard in prison last week together with Rabbi Pesach Lerner, Chairman of Young Israel. Metzger's spokesman said that during a two-and-a-half-hour visit with the man who was convicted for spying against the US for Israel the chief rabbi found Pollard in good spirits. Although Pollard is prevented from access to news media, he keeps up with current events via the letters he receives. Pollard's job in prison is to clean restrooms, said Metzger's spokesman. Metzger's letter comes just a week after an Iranian-born engineer, who worked at the nation's largest nuclear power plant was sentenced to 15 months in prison for spying against the US for Iran. A US District Court Judge ordered that Mohammad Reza Alavi's two sentences of 15 months each be served at the same time. Alavi, a naturalized US citizen, worked for the Palo Verde Nuclear Generating Station west of Phoenix for 17 years. Palo Verde officials have said the software transferred by Alavi to Iran did not contain enough information to pose a security threat.