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R. Ovadia Yosef Sends Letter to Obama: 'Please Free Pollard'

Shas party spiritual leader Rabbi Ovadia Yosef has signed a letter to U.S. President Barack Obama appealing for Jonathan Pollard's release.
By Chana Ya'ar
First Publish: 1/14/2011, 9:17 AM / Last Update: 1/14/2011, 9:13 AM

Flash 90

Shas party spiritual leader Rabbi Ovadia Yosef has signed a letter to U.S. President Barack Obama appealing for Jonathan Pollard's release.

The rabbi added his name Thursday to the long and growing list of Israeli and American leaders pressuring the U.S. president to free the former Israeli agent.

The letter to Obama signed by Rabbi Yosef was handed to U.S. Ambassador James Cunningham by Shas party chairman and Interior Minister Eli Yishai at the latter's Tel Aviv office.

According to Yishai's aides, the rabbi has written numerous times in the past to U.S. presidents asking for Pollard's release. He has also sent letters about the agent with various prime ministers who have traveled to Washington for meetings at the White House.

Last week former U.S. Secretary of State George Schultz signed a similar letter, as did did Harvard Law School Professor Charles Ogletree, who is Obama's mentor.

Pollard, who was convicted of passing classified information to an ally, has served 25 years of a life sentence for a crime that usually is punished with 2-4 years in prison. His health is deteriorating rapidly.