Free Pollard rally (archives)
Photo: Gil Yohanan

Petition to Peres: No medal before Pollard freed

Thousands of Israelis urge president to use his 'unprecedented diplomatic standing' in US to secure convicted spy's release

More than 10,000 Israeli citizens, including artists, political figures and academians have signed a petition calling on President Shimon Peres to work towards securing the release of convicted spy for Israel Jonathan Pollard before receiving the presidential Medal of Freedom from US President Barack Obama, the Yedioth Ahronoth daily reported Tuesday.


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Among those who signed the petition, which was posted online over the weekend, were former Justice Minister Amnon Rubinstein, singer Ruhama Raz and actor Rami Baruch, who plays the role of Pollard in a Cameri Theater production.


A number of organizations, such as Meretz Party Youth, have also backed the initiative.


During a recent AIPAC conference in Washington, Obama said he would award the medal - the highest honor that the United States can award to a civilian - to Peres this summer.


"Due to the superior values the medal represents, we feel we cannot reconcile you receiving it when the United States is still holding Pollard in prison," said the petition.


"We ask you to take advantage of your unprecedented diplomatic standing in order to work for Jonathan's immediate release before you are given the medal. Otherwise receiving the medal would make a mockery of Israel."


Pollard, a United States Navy analyst convicted of passing information to Israel, has served 26 years of a life sentence.


"Any attorney with a conscience must oppose Pollard's continued incarceration," Rubinstein said. "Enough is enough."


Haim Avraham, whose son Benny was kidnapped and murdered by Hezbollah in 2000, said "I'm sure the president would be embarrassed to receive the medal while the injustice against Pollard continues."



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פרסום ראשון: 03.27.12, 10:25
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