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June 24, 2014 6:19 pm

Peres Meets With Wife of Jonathan Pollard Ahead of Visit to U.S.

avatar by Aryeh Savir / Tazpit News Agency

Shimon Peres meets with the wife of Jonathan Pollard. Photo: Mark Neiman / GPO.

JERUSALEM – President Shimon Peres met on Sunday with Esther Pollard, wife of incarcerated Israeli spy Jonathan Pollard, and the heads of the Knesset Caucus to Free Jonathan Pollard at the President’s residence in Jerusalem.

The meeting took place a day before Peres was scheduled to depart for his final foreign visit, to the United States, where he will meet with President Obama and deliver a speech to Congress. Esther Pollard began by thanking President Peres and said, “I am grateful to you, Mr. President, for receiving us so close to your departure to the United States. Jonathan’s health has deteriorated and his situation is serious. I hope that now, after 30 years, your request for his release will be heard.”

Efi Lahav, the coordinator of the campaign to free Jonathan Pollard, said: “We know that you, Mr. President, have made significant efforts during your term in office and now we believe in your ability to persuade the President of the United States. We believe your upcoming visit to the U.S. is the most serious opportunity yet to release Jonathan Pollard.”

President Peres said he would raise the request based upon humanitarian grounds with President Obama and with the senior leadership of the United States. “It is a national responsibility to work to free Pollard. I will speak to the President of the United States on behalf of the people of Israel. I intend to do this during my meetings in Congress and at the White House.”

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MK Ayelet Shaked said, “You have done a lot on behalf of the State of Israel and the people of Israel both in Israel and abroad; I believe that only you can use your influence on the American leadership to bring Jonathan home.” MK Nachman Shai added: “There is a national consensus, which crosses party divides in the Knesset, of Jews and Arabs who agree that Jonathan Pollard must be released. I believe that if the President of the United States hears from you that the issue is important to you and to the people of Israel, there will be progress.”

Israeli citizens recently launched a petition requesting that Peres return from the U.S. with Jonathan Pollard. “At this time, when the diplomatic process is not on the agenda, we ask that you become our advocate and that you bring to bear the full weight of your influence in the U.S. so that justice and compassion may prevail and Jonathan will be released without any further delay,” the petition reads. “We believe that there would be nothing more noble and just than to use this unique opportunity to save a life.”

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