(JNS.org) On Thursday, Israeli spy Jonathan Pollard entered his 29th year in American prison.
Pollard, now 59, was arrested in Washington on Nov. 21, 1985. He was later convicted of spying for Israel, and is the only person in U.S. history to receive a life sentence for spying for an American ally.
“It’s an embarrassment for America, it’s a lack of justice, it’s an embarrassment for the world,” Rabbi Pesach Lerner, executive vice president emeritus of the National Council of Young Israel, told JNS.org.
Lerner, who visits Pollard in prison approximately every two months, said, “The clemency petition has been sitting on President [Barack] Obama’s desk for 4-5 years already. It’s his move.”
On Wednesday, Pollard’s wife Esther appealed to Obama to free her husband out of humanitarian considerations, Israel Hayom reported. Ahead of Obama’s visit to Israel in March, more than 200,000 Israelis signed a petition to the American leader calling for Pollard’s release.
Jewish Agency Chairman Natan Sharansky said Wednesday, “It is our collective failure that Pollard is still in prison. It is unprecedented in the history of the U.S. that someone who spied for a friendly country served even half the time [that Pollard has] in prison.”