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Israeli Minister to Visit Jonathan Pollard

Minister of Communications and Social Affairs Moshe Kahlon is scheduled to visit Jonathan Pollard next week...if Pollard's health allows it.
By Elad Benari
First Publish: 3/9/2011, 1:58 AM / Last Update: 3/9/2011, 2:14 AM

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For the first time in many years, an Israeli Cabinet minister will visit Jonathan Pollard in prison.

Israel’s Channel 2 News reported on Tuesday that Minister of Communications and Social Affairs, Moshe Kahlon, will fly to the U.S. next week and visit Pollard next Wednesday. The visit was approved by U.S. authorities.

Kahlon’s visit comes after a large show of support for Pollard’s release in recent months. Just last week, leaders of the Conference of Presidents presented U.S. President Barack Obama with a letter in which they ask him to consider releasing Pollard.

Previously, several former government officials publicly called on Obama to free Pollard, including former Vice President Dan Quayle, former senior U.S. Middle East negotiator Dennis Ross, former CIA director James Woolsey, former Chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee Dennis DeConcini, and Federal Judge Stephen Williams.

On Monday, it was announced that former U.S. Secretary of State Henry Kissinger also backs releasing Pollard. In a letter to Obama, Kissinger said that the time had come to free Pollard, based on the information he had learned about the case. “I believe justice would be served by commuting the remainder of Pollard's sentence of life imprisonment,” Kissinger wrote.

In January, Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu also made an unprecedented public appeal in the Knesset to free Pollard, reading out loud a letter he wrote to Obama on the issue.

Despite the positive announcement over Kahlon’s upcoming visit with Pollard, sources close to Pollard’s family expressed concern on Tuesday that the visit may be canceled at the last minute due to Pollard’s poor medical condition, having recently been admitted to hospital and undergoing surgery several times.

Esther Pollard, Jonathan's wife, also recently expressed concern for her husband's life. “I beg you, now that it is clear to everyone that there is no justification for his continued imprisonment – save him before it's too late,” she said.