Israeli agent Jonathan Pollard’s wife Esther says she is deeply alarmed over a recent statement made by President Shimon Peres which indicated that he had never made a serious effort to secure her husband’s release, The Jerusalem Post reported.
“There is no Israeli request that President [Barack] Obama has not responded to [favorably],” Peres said in remarks made at the Ben Gurion Prize Awards in Tel Aviv on Thursday.
Obama never responded to the request made by Peres that he 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. Thursday marks the 28th anniversary of Pollard’s arrest.
“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,” she wrote.
“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 in a letter that American officials had informed her that if he would make a serious and unequivocal request for her husband’s release, Obama would respond favorably. She said she viewed his statement on Thursday as proof Peres had not made such 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, G-d 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 will be here.”
National Council of Young Israel executive vice president emeritus Rabbi Pesach Lerner, who spearheads efforts for Pollard’s release in the U.S., noted that the Americans had no evidence against the agent when he was arrested until Peres, who was then prime minister, ordered that all the documents that Pollard passed to Israel be returned to the U.S. 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,” he added.