In her first speech at the Knesset plenum on Monday, MK Ayelet Shaked (Bayit Yehudi) had a message for President Barack Obama: Bring Jonathan Pollard with you when you come to Israel.
Pollard is currently serving a life sentence in a U.S. prison on allegations of spying for Israel.
“At this moment, I want to take advantage of the special occasion and call on U.S. President Barack Obama: Come to visit the land of Israel. You are welcome in Israel, but please do not come empty-handed. Bring back Jonathan Pollard, for he is our brother,” said Shaked.
Earlier on Monday, Jonathan's wife, Esther Pollard, met with Yesh Atid chairman Yair Lapid.
Speaking to Arutz Sheva after the meeting, Pollard expressed renewed hope in the battle for the release of her husband, which has received support not only from Lapid but from tens of thousands of Israelis as well.
As the two met, Jonathan called his wife and got a chance to speak with Lapid, who later told the members of his party that the conversation “truly brought tears to my eyes, and I do not mean that figuratively.”
A petition circulating online advocating for Jonathan's release has been gaining momentum and has already been signed by tens of thousands of Israelis, including a number of MKs such as Yair Lapid, Eitan Cabel (Labor), Elazar Stern (Hatnua) and Avishai Braverman (Labor). Former President Yitzhak Navon has signed the petition as well.
Leftist writers A.B. Yehoshua and David Grossman, Nobel Prize winning chemists Dan Shechtman and Aaron Ciechanover and the heads of major Israeli hospitals are also among those who signed the petition to Obama which states, "After 28 years, the lesson has been learned," and urges Obama to "come to Israel with the news that this tragedy is behind us."
MK Danny Danon (Likud) hinted on Sunday that President Shimon Peres and Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu will ask Obama to pardon Pollard when Obama visits Israel next month.
Danon told Arutz Sheva that to the best of his knowledge, Obama will hear "clear statements" on the matter of Pollard from Netanyahu and Peres, when he visits – and from MK Danon himself.