Rival Israeli Parties Unite For Pollard

YERUSHALAYIM -

With only two weeks to go in a volatile, wide-open electoral campaign, the warring parties have found an issue on which they can come together — Jonathan Pollard.

In an unusual display of unity, 10 parties from across the political spectrum sent a letter over the weekend to President Shimon Peres urging him to do whatever he can to secure Pollard’s release.

The signatories to the missive included Likud, Jewish Home, Shas, United Torah Judaism, Kadima, Yesh Atid, Labor, Meretz, Strong Israel, and Livni’s Movement party.

“Despite all the differences between us and the many arguments we have, especially at this time, it was important to us to unite and appeal to you in a joint request on behalf of all our voters,” they wrote.

“In such times, it is hard to think of another issue on which we can unite.”

The letter sounded the ongoing themes of the Pollard campaign: a humanitarian appeal for Pollard and the fact that his sentence is a travesty of justice.

It noted that Pollard has won the support of former secretaries of state Henry Kissinger and George Schultz, former CIA director James Woolsey and a long list of other senior American officials who have decried the unusually harsh punishment meted out to Pollard, who has spent more time in prison than individuals convicted of much more serious crimes.

The letter cites the recent CIA revelation that Pollard, who was convicted of spying for Israel, never sought to obtain information about U.S. activities. Rather, he was instructed by his Israeli handlers to obtain information about Israel’s enemies.

The parties called attention to Pollard’s recent hospitalization and the fact that on November 21 he passed a tragic milestone, beginning the 28th year of his life sentence.

“We cannot ignore the painful reminder that this man’s life could end while he is still in jail,” they wrote. “Please act to bring about Pollard’s release before it is too late.”

Speaking on behalf of “all our constituents,” they called the release of Jonathan Pollard “a humanitarian cause of the first order, behind which the entire Jewish people is united.”

The letter concluded with a personal appeal to Peres: “These days, when Israel and the U.S. are about to wipe the slate [clean] and start a new era, we believe that your special relationship with President Obama may finally bring an end to the tragedy of Jonathan and his family.”