Yesh Atid chairman Yair Lapid signed Wednesday on the petition calling to free Jonathan Pollard, who is serving a life sentence in prison in the United States for passing classified information to Israel.
Lapid recalled his meeting with Pollard’s wife Esther, during which he spoke to Jonathan Pollard on the phone.
“That conversation with Pollard still echoes in my mind,” he said. “The broken voice, the expectation, the fear of the moment when he will tell himself that he cannot go on.”
“I don’t usually sign petitions,” Lapid said, “but this time I signed.”
The petition to free Pollard has passed the 100,000 mark, and has been signed by many Israeli public figures, including former ministers, a former president, and Nobel Prize winners. Members of Knesset and mayors are among those who have called for his freedom in recent weeks.
Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu has publicly called for Pollard’s release, and told Esther Pollard that he will raise the issue during U.S. President Barack Obama’s visit.
Pollard has been in jail for more than 25 years, an unusually heavy sentence given his offense. Lawrence Korb, who served as U.S. Assistant Secretary of Defense during the Jonathan Pollard affair, told a news conference Tuesday that Pollard did not deserve a life sentence, and noted that the usual sentence in such cases is only seven years.