Esther Pollard meets with Peres to ask him to intercede with Obama on husband

Marcy Oster

JERUSALEM (JTA) — Esther Pollard, the wife of Jonathan Pollard, the American intelligence analyst convicted of spying for Israel, met with Israeli President Shimon Peres ahead of his trip to the United States.

Esther Pollard and the heads of the Knesset Caucus to free Jonathan Pollard, lawmakers Nachman Shai of the Labor party and Ayelet Shaked of the Jewish Home party, met Sunday with Peres to urge him to use his visit to encourage U.S. officials to free Jonathan Pollard on humanitarian grounds.

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“I am grateful to you, Mr. President, for receiving us so close to your departure to the United States. Jonathan’s health has deteriorated and his situation is serious. I hope that now, after 30 years, your request for his release will be heard,” Esther Pollard said.

Peres said he would raise the request based upon humanitarian grounds with President Obama and with the senior leadership of the United States. “It is a national responsibility to work to free Pollard, I will speak to the President of the United States on behalf of the people of Israel. I intend to do this during my meetings in Congress and at the White House,” Peres said.

Pollard is in the 29th year of a life sentence in a U.S. federal prison for spying for Israel while working as a civilian Navy intelligence analyst.