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Esther Pollard: Petition 'Makes Jonathan Breathe'

Wife of Jonathan Pollard says he is always asking her how many have signed the petition for his freedom.
By Gil Ronen
First Publish: 3/19/2013, 11:28 AM

Esther & Jonathan Pollard, Yuli Edelstein
Esther & Jonathan Pollard, Yuli Edelstein
Yehuda Glick

Esther Pollard, whose husband Jonathan is serving a life sentence in a U.S. jail for spying on the U.S. on Israel's behalf, asked the Israeli public again Tuesday to sign the petition calling on U.S. President Barack Obama to pardon her husband. The petition was nearing the 200,000 mark Tuesday morning.

"Obama has yet to hear President Peres and what he has to say on behalf of the Israeli public, so the ball is still in the air," she told IDF Radio.

"Jonathan's state of physical and emotional health is very bad," she said. "All of the people signing the petition to free him give him life; this is what allows him to breathe. I don't know how he would survive otherwise. He is 58 years old already in terms of age, but after seven years in isolation, his health is like that of an 80 or 90 year old. He suffers greatly, physically, and receives no medical treatment. There is no normal food there like fruit and vegetables, and he needs that because he has diabetes.

"Jonathan is up to speed and he knows what is going on," Pollard added. "He has newspapers and he watches television. The first thing he is always asking me is how many people have signed the petition. Despite this, Jonathan always said that he is unwilling to have Israel make concessions in order to free him.

Esther Pollard says that she refuses to wait until 2015, when it will theoretically be possible to release Pollard to house arrest. "Jonathan has excellent lawyers who are volunteers. They, along with senior American figures, believe that the only way to release him now is through a presidential pardon. Had there been another way, they would have taken it."