In a letter sent to Jonathan Pollard, Israeli Knesset members apologize for failing to secure his release and express their condolences over his father’s death.
Pollard has been jailed in the United States for 26 years after being found guilty of espionage charges.
“We are very sorry that despite all our efforts, we have not been able to secure your release, or at the very leas, release you to your father’s funeral,” the letter read.
Last week, following reports that Pollard’s father, Morris, was in grave condition, Knesset Member Nachman Shai initiated a petition signed by 75 MKs urging the US Administration to allow the jailed Pollard see his father. Upon being informed ofMorris’ death over the weekend, the petition was modified to request that Pollard be allowed to attend the funeral.
In their letter, the MKs wrote: “It is with great sorrow that we heard about your father’s passing. We bow our heads in the face of the terrible mourning…which comes on top of the great suffering of the lengthy stay behind bars.”
The Knesset members added that they plan to hold an event in honor of Pollard at parliament next week that will include a play that recounts his story. Virtually all heads of Knesset factions signed the letter.
Netanyahu: Israel Erred
Meanwhile, Prime Minister Netanyahu addressed the Pollard affair in a video posted on YouTube where he replied to questions from Israeli citizens.
Nira Cohen from Ganei Tikva, east of Tel Aviv, asked Netanyahu: “I wanted to know why Pollard is not being released, a man who did so much for us…we’ll be very happy if you help him go free.”
In his response, Netanyahu said that “we’re asking the same question.”
“What happened with Pollard is a tragedy. The State of Israel erred and should not have used agents in the US,” Netanyahu said. “Israel admitted to this error, and Jonathan Pollard has been in jail for more than 25 years now, more than anyone else, including spies who operated against the US.”
“I sent a letter to President Obama a while ago with an explicit, official request, which I know is endorsed by all the people of Israel, to free Jonathan, and I hope that on a humane basis, on a humanitarian basis, this request will eventually be met,” the prime minister said.