Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu sent US President Barack Obama a letter yesterday formally and publicly requesting the release of Israeli spy Jonathan Pollard. It was a historic letter by Netanyahu marking the first time an Israeli prime minister has publicly requested Pollard’s release. Pollard was sentenced to life in prison in 1987 on charges of spying on the US for Israel. He is incarcerated at a federal jail in North Carolina.
Netanyahu’s letter was a response to a request by Pollard who asked the prime minister to make it a public appeal. Netanyahu yesterday read the letter to the Knesset plenum. In the letter, he emphasised Pollard’s deteriorating health and the fact that Pollard’s sentence exceeded any previous conviction of the same offence as reasons for releasing Pollard. “I know that the United States is a country based on fairness, justice and mercy. For all these reasons, I respectfully ask that you favourably consider this request for clemency. The people of Israel will be eternally grateful,” Netanyahu wrote in the letter.