Free Pollard protest
Free Pollard protest Israel news photo: Flash 90

Israelis from across the political and religious spectrum have signed a petition calling for Jonathan Pollard to be released from prison.

Bereaved families met last week with President Shimon Peres prior to his trip to the United States to underscore the importance of his intended appeal to U.S. President Barack Obama on behalf of Pollard.

Among the 70,000 signatories are many famous figures who until today have never come together for a single purpose. They include Chief Ashkenazi Rabbi Yona Metzger and authors A. B. Yehoshua and David Grossman, singer Shlomo Artzi and former minister Tzipi Livni.

Also signed on are Israeli nobel prize winners Professor Dan Shechtman and Professor Yisrael Aumann, former Hamas captive Gilad Shalit and his family, politician Uzi Dayan, Rabbi Yoel Ben-Nun, and legal expert Amnon Rubinstein.

The letter, addressed to President Shimon Peres, states: “Due to deep concern for Jonathan's welfare, and desire to see him spend the remainder of his life as a free man, we ask you to use your unprecedented diplomatic status and your close relationship with President Obama for Jonathan’s release.”

Pollard activists said a similar letter signed by dozens of mayors was on its way to Peres. The president is traveling to the United States, where he is to meet with President Barack Obama and receive the Medal of Freedom – a meeting Pollard activists hope he will use to push strongly for the ailing Pollard’s release.

“Today there is a clear consensus in expecting the President to use his power to ensure that this opportunity to save Jonathan’s life is not lost,” they said.