JERUSALEM (JTA) — The Jewish Agency in a resolution called on President Obama to grant clemency to spy-for-Israel Jonathan Pollard.
The agency’s Board of Governors passed the resolution unanimously on Tuesday during its annual meeting in Jerusalem calling for Pollard’s release on humanitarian grounds.
It notes that Pollard is completing his 28th year of a life sentence in a U.S. federal prison and claims the sentence is "overly harsh." The resolution also refers to Pollard’s "various illnesses and deteriorating health."
The resolution was passed one month before Obama is scheduled to make his first visit to Israel as president.
"Twenty eight years is more than enough,” said Natan Sharansky, chairman of the Executive of the Jewish Agency. “Today, when there is a growing consensus in favor of Pollard’s release amongst former Pentagon and CIA officials, American figures, legal authorities, the Israeli government, and American Jewish leaders, the time has come to vigorously and loudly demand his freedom. ”
On Monday afternoon, Yair Lapid, the head of the Yesh Atid party, spoke to Pollard during a meeting at the Knesset in Jerusalem with Pollard’s wife, Esther.
Esther Pollard went to the Knesset to meet Lapid and ask him to speak with Obama about clemency. Jonathan Pollard called his wife in the middle of the meeting and she gave the phone to Lapid, The Jerusalem Post reported.
The timing of the call was coincidental, Esther Pollard said, since her husband is restricted on his telephone usage.
"I was in tears," Lapid told reporters after the meeting. "He is in poor shape. He is desperate and broken. We will do everything we can to help him."