Jonathan Pollard, who was convicted by the United States for spying on behalf of Israel, has been rushed to the hospital after experiencing extreme pain following a deterioration in his health, according to a report from The Jerusalem Post.
The report cites sources close to the Pollard family saying that he was taken to an emergency facility that is close to the penitentiary where he is being held in Butner, North Carolina.
Pollard’s wife Esther and sources close to the family have said that he has been suffering from severe pain for a long time, and that his health had been in decline, however, prison officials only agreed to the hospital transfer after the intervention of congressmen.
Israel’s Chief Rabbi called on Jews communities to pray on Pollard’s behalf using his Hebrew name Yehonatan Ben-Malka during the festival of Passover that begins this evening.
Over the years Jews in the United States, Israel and around the world have campaigned for his release, citing excessively harsh sentencing relative to similar convictions.
A recent campaign gathered thousands of signatures for a petition that called for Israeli President Shimon Peres to make his upcoming acceptance of the Presidential Medal of Freedom from President Barack Obama conditional on Pollard’s release. The campaign garnered the support of former Hamas captive Gilad Schalit.