Jonathan Pollard, who is serving a jail sentence in the United States for espionage on behalf of Israel, spoke to his wife Esther by telephone Thursday, who told him that the city of Jerusalem has decided to give him the Jerusalem Freedom Award.
“Esther, you don’t know how happy this makes me. I haven’t been forgotten. They want me,” an emotional Jonathan Pollard told his wife, Israel Hayom reported.
“I spoke with Jonathan and I told him about the award you are giving him,” Esther Pollard told Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat on Thursday. “It revives him and gives him a reason to go on. I interpret it as a sign of mutual love between Jonathan and his land and his beloved city. You are keeping him alive.”
“The decision made by the city council in the name of the city of Jerusalem carries a message that we want him back home ahead of the holiday of freedom (Passover),” Barkat told Esther Pollard. “The people of Israel are obligated to redeem captives, and I am full of hope that this message will reach all of our friends in the United States. This award is an embrace of love for Jonathan.”
Jerusalem City Council member Yair Gabai, who approached the mayor with the idea of granting Pollard the award, said, “I bless the mayor for embracing my idea to give the Jerusalem Freedom Award to Jonathan Pollard. As public representatives, it is our duty to do everything to bring him home and to help him to realize the dream of freedom and immigration to Israel. I hope that this initiative echoes in the halls of the White House and that there is an end to the suffering of our brother Jonathan Pollard.”
More than 80,000 people have so far signed the petition calling for Pollard’s release. The petition will be presented to U.S. President Barack Obama during his visit to Israel.