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Jonathan Pollard Released from Hospital - and Back to His Cell

Israeli agent returns to prison cell, but still in excruciating pain, according to wife Esther.
By Tova Dvorin
First Publish: 3/10/2014, 8:50 PM

Jonathan Pollard
Jonathan Pollard
Yehuda Glick

Israeli agent and US prisoner Jonathan Pollard was released from hospital Monday, according to Ma'ariv - only to be escorted back to his prison cell. 

"He is very weak and completely exhausted," Pollard's wife, Esther, told the press in the wake of his return to incarceration. "In my first conversation with him after his hospitalization he was having a hard time speaking - he was breathing heavily and suffering from pain so excruciating he could only answer 'yes' and 'no' to questions. He was unable to speak beyond a few words." 

Esther Pollard noted that Jonathan seems to have recovered slightly a few hours later, but that he is "a long way from returning to his old self." 

"The worst place to be ill and the worst place to recover is prison," she added. "In many cases, the pills Jonathan needs are not on hand when he needs them and their supply is delayed for hours - or even days - due to various bureaucratic errors. In general access to health care is extremely limited."

"Jonathan should be at home," she urged. "He needs constant medical supervision."

Esther also stressed that Jonathan's desire to go home may be the only thing keeping him alive. "As much as he is weak and ill, Jonathan is still fighting to stay alive and go home," she stated. "All he wants is for his dream to become a reality - to come home to Israel, so we can live with the rest of our lives with this nightmare behind us."

Pollard has suffered multiple health problems over the years, for which he was finally hospitalized last week. Israel's Deputy Religious Affairs Minister, Rabbi Eli Ben-Dahan (Jewish Home), urged the public to pray for Pollard after he clung to life following emergency surgery. Ex-wife Ann Pollard noted recently that the prisoner's situation is grim, and that conditions in the US's prisons are horrific. 

Jonathan Pollard has recently been subject of a high-profile campaign for his release. He is now in his 29th year of incarceration in a US jail for passing classified security-related information from America to Israel. He was arrested by FBI agents in 1985 and held ever since. 

Calls for his release escalated since it was revealed last month that the US and UK have been spying on top Israeli officials, including Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu. Pollard was arrested on charges far less serious, critics noted, and slammed the Obama administration for "hypocrisy." 

The calls for Pollard's release escalated so much so that over 106 MKs attended a special Knesset session in December to protest US President Barack Obama's refusal to release the prisoner, and signed a petition urging the President to reconsider. 

Several top US officials, including Former Deputy National Security advisor Elliott Abrams, United States Assistant Secretary of Defense during the Jonathan Pollard affair Lawrence Korb, and former CIA chief James Woolsey have also called for Pollard to be released.