JERUSALEM (JTA) – Freed Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit joined the call on President Obama to release spy-for-Israel Jonathan Pollard.
Shalit on Monday signed an online petition asking Obama to commute Pollard’s life sentence to time served.
"I have signed a petition, and call on you to do the same. Freedom is a great gift and privilege," Shalit posted on his Facebook status. "I thank those who worked for my release, and now I ask you to join the struggle to save Pollard."
More than 150,000 Israelis have signed the petition. The petition, which appears in Hebrew and English, was placed online Feb. 11 and will be hand delivered to Obama during his visit to Israel later this month, according to the Justice for Jonathan Pollard organization.
Shalit was freed from more than five years of captivity by Hamas terrorists in October 2011.
Pollard’s wife, Esther, also appealed to Obama on Monday during an interview with Israel’s Channel 2.
“Mr. President, all Jonathan and I are asking for is your compassion, your compassion and your mercy," she said in English.
She added, "The greatest dream that Jonathan and I have is that he will be home for Passover this year, to sit next to me at the Passover seder, to drink his cup of wine, finally, after 28 years, as a free man."
Pollard, a civilian U.S. Navy intelligence analyst who spied for Israel, was sentenced to life in prison in 1987, despite a plea bargain in which he admitted his guilt. The calls to release Pollard have intensified in the last year, with pleas from lawmakers and former top officials of both U.S. political parties.