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Young Israel Pres.: America Hypocritical on Pollard

Rabbi Pesach Lerner speaks against Jonathan Pollard's continued imprisonment, says in light of US spying he must be released.
By Yoni Kempinski, Ari Yashar
First Publish: 11/6/2013, 8:04 AM

Jonathan Pollard
Jonathan Pollard
Israel news photo: Flash 90

Rabbi Pesach Lerner, Executive Vice President of the National Council of Young Israel, spoke out Tuesday calling for Jonathan Pollard's release, citing the hypocrisy of his imprisonment in America after revelations of spying against US allies by the country's intelligence agencies. 

In two weeks Pollard, who was accused of spying on the US for Israel, will enter his 29th year in an American jail cell.

Rabbi Lerner said that especially now, after it has become clear that America has been "spying on every country in the world, including and specifically Israel" it is "ridiculous" to keep Pollard in jail for so long.

Lerner's comments refer to reports from Sunday which revealed that America is spying on Israel, and particularly on "high priority Israeli military targets."

America's spying on Israel follows discoveries that the National Security Agency (NSA) has been monitoring the phone calls of 35 world leaders.

In contrast, Lerner noted that Pollard didn't pass along information about America but rather about the military threats posed by Arab countries to Israel.

The rabbi added that he feels some of Israel's MKs, governmental ministers and President Shimon Peres forgot Pollard. According to him, they need to be told "as long as Jonathan hasn't come home to Israel, apparently we haven't done enough."

In August, after more than 10,000 days in an American prison, Pollard wrote an opinion piece for the Jerusalem Post.

In the piece he referred to his own story, saying "Israel holds the world record for betraying those who were loyal to it. It is the only country in the world that ever willingly cooperated in a lawsuit against its intelligence agent, refused to give him asylum, turned over documents to incriminate him, denied knowing him and then allowed him to rot in prison for decades."

US President Barak Obama visited Israel for the first time as president in March, and was met by requests to free Pollard which went ignored.

Aside from spying on Israel, Obama's antagonism towards Israel and its leaders have become even clearer with revelations this Tuesday that he called Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu a "pain in the a**" during his 2012 presidential campaign.