Israel to Request Pollard Leave to Attend Father’s Funeral


(JTA) — Israel will officially request that the Obama administration give convicted spy for Israel Jonathan Pollard leave from prison to attend his father’s funeral.

Morris Pollard, 95, died June 18 in Indiana after complications from a bladder infection. His funeral is scheduled for Monday.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said the government would submit the request. Pollard supporters planned to demonstrate in front of the U.S. Embassy in Tel Aviv Sunday urging Obama to accede to the request.

More than 70 Knesset members last week sent a petition to Washington urging Obama to allow Pollard to visit his dying father. Activists from around the world had urged Obama to grant Pollard the compassionate leave, but the administration refused.

Pollard, who is serving a life sentence in a federal prison in Butner, N.C., was allowed to make an emergency call to his father, who was hospitalized a week before his death, but Morris Pollard was too weak to speak on the telephone.

Pollard was a civilian U.S. Navy analyst when he was arrested in 1985 for spying for Israel. He was not allowed to attend his mother’s funeral in December, 2001. He reportedly has been estranged from his family since 1996