Esther Pollard makes plea to Peres before his U.S. trip


JERUSALEM (JTA) — Jonathan Pollard’s wife in a meeting with Shimon Peres before he left for the United States said she asked the Israeli president to request clemency for her husband from President Obama.

Speaking after Sunday’s meeting, Esther Pollard called it a "good meeting."

"The president listened to me, and I hope and believe that [what I told him] penetrated his heart," she told The Jerusalem Post.

Jonathan Pollard has been imprisoned in the United States for 25 years for spying for Israel while working as a civilian analyst for the U.S. Navy. The Pollards married while Jonathan was in prison.

Current and former U.S. lawmakers and government officials have called on Obama in recent weeks to grant clemency to Pollard.

Peres left Sunday for the United States, where he is scheduled to meet with Obama to discuss "security cooperation between Israel and the United States, recent developments in the Middle East, and the pursuit of peace between Israel  and its neighbors," according to a statement from Peres’ office. 

The White House said Peres is scheduled to have a "working lunch" Tuesday with President Obama.

Israeli media have reported that Peres will present Obama with the outlines of the peace plan that Netanyahu expects to introduce in an address at the annual American Israel Public Affairs Committee policy forum next month.

Peres is scheduled to meet Monday with Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton. On Wednesday he will visit Capitol Hill for meetings with Republican and Democratic leaders, and will be hosted by the House of Representatives speaker, Rep. John Boehner (R-Ohio). Peres also reportedly is scheduled to meet with Vice President Joe Biden.

Peres will fly to New York midweek for additional meetings, including a working meeting with the United Nations ambassadors of the current Security Council member countries. On Wednesday he will attend a dinner hosted by the Center for Middle East Peace, a think tank with close Obama administration ties.

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