Jonathan Pollard was reported out of immediate danger on Sunday after he lost consciousness late last week and was taken to a hospital, but not before renewed calls for his release were issued by Israel and leaders of American Jewish organizations.
After a day of increasing fears for her husband’s life, prison officials informed Esther Pollard that he is now under the supervision of the prison medical services, but will probably require surgery in the near future. His condition was described as stable for the moment, but not out of risk.
Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu spoke with Secretary of State John Kerry on Motzoei Shabbos, telling him, “Pollard’s life is in danger, and after 30 years in jail the time has come for him to be released and live the rest of his years as a free man.”
Despite the already-intense electioneering in Israel, the consensus behind Pollard remains unaffected. Opposition leader Isaac Herzog (Labor), a leading contender to replace Netanyahu, joined the urgent calls to secure Pollard’s release.
Herzog, who was in Washington for the Saban Forum when the news of Pollard’s medical emergency broke, met with American officials and asked them to free Pollard — to show consideration for a man in such poor health after 30 years of affliction. Pollard has been suffering from multiple serious medical issues, has been in deteriorating health, particularly over the past year.
“We are fearful and praying, especially since there have already been several occasions in which he was hospitalized in a life-and-death state,” said Efi Lahav, head of the Campaign for the Release of Jonathan Pollard group.
The Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations said that “the reports of Jonathan Pollard’s hospitalization, following his loss of consciousness underscores the need for immediate action for his release.”
Robert G. Sugarman, Chairman, and Malcolm Hoenlein, Executive Vice Chairman, of the Conference, cited the recent letter signed by eight distinguished former American officials who decried the injustice of Pollard’s continued incarceration.
“It is regrettable and inexplicable that the Parole Board denied his application after serving 30 years, much of it in solitary confinement, far beyond anyone accused of a comparable crime. We join the distinguished Americans including Ambassador R. James Woolsey, Senator Dennis DeConcini, Senator David F. Durenburger, Robert C. MacFarlane, Lawrence J. Korb, Professor Angelo Codevilla, Congressman Lee Hamilton, and Bernard W. Nussbaum, who strongly protested the ‘unjust denial of parole’ and questioned the decision which, they wrote, ‘mischaracterizes Mr. Pollard’s actions and makes a patently false claim on which it bases its denial of parole.’
“Underscoring the misguided decision regarding his parole was that he was given the highest score for suitability for release. There are many other factors that make clear that his unconditional release is long overdue.
“We urge President Obama, especially in this holiday season and given Mr. Pollard’s worsening health, to take steps immediately to expedite Mr. Pollard’s release and to commute his life sentence to the more than 29 years he has already served,” the Conference heads said in a statement.