Two campaigns were launched Sunday to free prisoner Jonathan Pollard to attend his father’s funeral Monday morning –a massive phone-in to the White House and political pressure from Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu.
The Obama administration last week remained silent to requests to free Pollard long enough to visit his 95-year-old father before he died Saturday. Officials will have to act almost immediately if they want to allow him to help bury his father. He would have to leave his cell several hours before the funeral in South Bend, Indiana, and security arrangements would have to be implemented.
The main desk phone number at the White House is 202-456-1414. Activists said that there is no time for e-mails and told supporters, “The number to the main desk does not take messages; however, if numerous people are calling non-stop, the message will reverberate throughout the White House and it will have an effect."
In addition, a rally is scheduled at 7 p.m. (noon EDT) opposite the American Embassy in Tel Aviv under the banner, “Obama: Show a bit of humanity. Let Pollard accompany his father to his final resting place.”
On the political front, Prime Minister Netanyahu said he will submit a formal diplomatic request on behalf of Pollard, who is serving a life term in prison for passing on classified information to America's ally, Israel -- an offense that usually carries a 2-4 year prison term.
Likud Minister Limor Livnat said that Prime Minister Netanyahu has “worked hard the past week” to try to convince the Obama administration to allow Pollard out of prison to visit his father, who was an award-winning professor at Notre Dame University in Indiana.
“I really hope the U.S. administration shows minimal humanity and lets him out of prison after 26 years to be at the funeral,” she added.
Jewish Home Minister Daniel Hershkowitz, a member of the coalition government, stated, "The man has been rotting in an American prison. His mother passed away, and he was not allowed to see his father before his death, too. I want to remind everyone that he was not acting against the United States but rather to obtain information on [Arab] terrorists.”
Kadima MK Ronit Tirosh said that if the United States does not allow Jonathan Pollard to help bury his father, she will boycott the annual American Independence Day party at the ambassador’s house.
Nachman Shai, also a Kadima MK, called on American Jews to speak up for Pollard. "Five million Jews live in the United States, and they are silent,” he said. “A clear statement needs to come from them.”