MK Rabbi Dov Lipman (Yesh Atid) joined the calls heard around the world to free Jonathan Pollard Wednesday, after serving more than 28 years in prison on charges of spying for Israel.
Lipman, who represented the State of Israel at the 2013 Limmud Conference at the University of Warwick, said in his speech this morning:
"I call on every person in the world who raises the flag of humanitarian issues to join me in calling for the immediate release of Jonathan Pollard from prison in the United States," Lipman continued.
"Make no mistake about it. This is no longer an Israeli-US issue but an international issue of calling for the humane treatment of this man."
Pollard has been subject of a high-profile campaign for his release, after being held in the US for more than 28 years on spying allegations. He was arrested by FBI agents in 1985 and held since.
Calls for Pollard's release have escalated in light of revelations that the US and UK have been spying on top-ranking Israeli officials.
Several MKs, as well as Israeli and American politicians, academics, and public figures, have expressed outrage at the revelation. As Transportation Yisrael Katz noted, "Pollard was arrested for a lot less."
Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu will reportedly demand Pollard's release in the near future, possibly within the framework of ongoing negotiations between Israel and the Palestinian Authority.
US President Barack Obama, however, has been intransigent about the release. White House officials stated Monday that "there is no intention to release him."
Lipman, who was an American citizen until his election to the Knesset, appealed to Obama in the name of American values.
"I turn directly to President Obama," he began.
"Mr. President, in order to serve in the Israeli Knesset, Israeli law required me to renounce my United States citizenship. Tears welled up in my eyes and streamed down my cheeks as I did so because your great country gave me and taught me so much. I believe that many of the values I learned in the United States - tolerance, compassion, and human rights - are being violated every moment that Jonathan Pollard remains in his cell."