Rabbis marched in Jerusalem on Thursday afternoon in a call to United States President Barack Obama to free Jonathan Pollard. Several of Israel’s foremost rabbis were present, including Rabbi Shmuel Eliyahu, the chief rabbi of Tzfat, Rabbi Shlomo Aviner, and Rabbi David Stav, head of the Tzohar rabbinic organization and a candidate for Chief Rabbi of Israel.
“Free Pollard – yes you can!” the marchers shouted, playing on Obama’s campaign slogan, “yes we can.”
“We’re appealing to the President of the United States, to tell him that Pollard is our brother, our flesh and blood. We put aside everything just before Passover because it is the holiday of freedom for Pollard, too,” said Rabbi Eliyahu.
“We’re requesting from Obama that Pollard celebrate the holiday of freedom here in his home in the land of Israel,” he added.
Pollard was sentenced to life in prison for sharing classified information with Israel while working for the U.S. government. He has served over 28 years of his sentence and is now in poor health.
More than 200,000 people signed a petition in the days before Obama’s visit to Israel calling for Pollard’s release.