The Knesset on Wednesday held a special session to discuss the case of Jonathan Pollard, who has been behind bars in the United States for nearly 10,000 days for passing classified information to Israel.
MK Yoni Chetboun (Jewish Home), who initiated the discussion in light of President Barack Obama’s upcoming visit to Israel, urged fellow Knesset members to heed the lessons of history and demand Pollard’s release.
"Jonathan Pollard has served close to 28 years in prison,” he said. “In a few weeks it will mark 10,000 days of imprisonment. The government of Israel and Jonathan himself have expressed deep and sincere regret for the violation of U.S. law. They have been lessons learned and burned, burned well."
"We are appreciative of (former) Secretary of States Kissinger and Schultz and many American officials calling for the release of Jonathan due to his unprecedented punishment. His unstable health condition adds urgency to the appeals," added Chetboun.
MK Nachman Shai (Labor) spoke at the session, pledging unequivocal support in bringing bout Pollard’s release saying, "It's time you put a clear call to unite and clear eve of the visit of Obama, now release Jonathan Pollard!"
MK Reuven Rivlin (Likud) called for Israeli society to repent for its failure thus far in securing Pollard’s release.
"The people of Israel, the Israeli government and Israel pushed him off the public agenda and denied the voices of the few who called to act,” Rivlin said.
The Israeli public understand that "silent action will not help", he said, stressing the need to act openly and push for Pollard's release.
"I want to map to tell President Obama: 'YES YOU CAN!'” added MK Danny Danon. “You have it in your power to sign a presidential pardon and return Pollard to Israel.”
Pollard, 58, was sentenced to life in prison in 1987 for supplying Israel with classified information and is believed to be in poor health.
Over 100,000 thousand people have already signed onto an online petition for Pollard's release, despite stiff American opposition.
“We appeal to you as one who symbolizes the sharedof humanity, compassion and hope for a second chance, that both of our nations embrace,” the petition states. “We implore you to commute Jonathan Pollard's sentence to time served without delay and allow him to live out his remaining days as a free man.”
It is our fervent hope and prayer that your upcomingto Israel will bring us the good news we have waited for, for so very long, and that this tragic and painful episode can finally be put to rest once and for all,” it adds.