On Sunday, former spy Jonathan Pollard unveiled a new crowdfunding campaign to establish Esther's Children Center for Jewish education.
Plans for the center, named in honor of Pollard's late wife, Esther, were formally announced at an event held at the Ramada Hotel in Jerusalem Sunday evening, coinciding with the first anniversary of Esther's passing last year, following a lengthy battle with cancer.
Pollard said that the new center would commemorate his late wife's legacy.
"Unfortunately, I can never change the fact that Esther never had children of her own, but every child who comes to study at Esther Children's Center will be, in some ways, a child of Esther's."
Due to the harsh prison conditions, the Pollards were denied the right to have children. "During the years of imprisonment and suffering, there was nothing that pained us more than the fact that we were denied the right to have children. We appealed to every court that we could, but with no success. Not a day went by in which we did not mourn this loss."
The campaign is offering donors partial or full sponsorship of the first 1,000 children who will attend the center. Sponsorship fees were calculated based on remaining building costs deducted from the sums already raised by Pollard and his supporters.
Attendees of the campaign's launch include former Chief Sefardic Rabbi of Israel Rabbi Shlomo Moshe Amar, the chief rabbi of Tzfat Rabbi Shmuel Eliyahu, and a number of prominent supporters of Jonathan Pollard.
Efi Lahav, former Chairman of Free Pollard Now, said, "This is a very exciting day. Thirty-seven years ago, Jonathan worked selflessly to save the lives of civilians in the State of Israel, and we knew nothing about it. After that, people in Israel, led by Esther, fought for his release, but he only heard about it from a distance. Finally, we all have an opportunity to show Jonathan the passion and energy that we felt when we were fighting for his release."