More than 7,000 have signed the online “Free Pollard Now” petition within the first 24 hours after it was published. The petition is to be submitted to President Barack Obama during his upcoming visit to Israel in March. In total, more than 14,000 have signed the petition.
The petition asks President Obama to release Jonathan Pollard, who has served 28 years of a life sentence in American prisons for espionage on behalf of Israel. This petition follows President Shimon Peres and Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu’s formal appeals to Obama to release Pollard.
The petition organizers were initially hoping to get at least 15,000 signatures, but have now increased their goal to 25,000, in light of the massive support they are receiving from the public.
Asher Mivtzari, one of the petition initiators, told Tazpit News Agency that the petition was not political or sectarian in any way. All segments of Israeli society have joined the petition, in a rare show of unity.
The full petition reads:
Dear President Obama:
We, the People of Israel, look forward hopefully and with pleasure to your visit to our country.
In anticipation of this important occasion, we would like to appeal to you about a matter which is deeply troubling to every one of us.
Our President, Shimon Peres, and our Prime Minister, Binyamin Netanyahu have both issued formal appeals to you on behalf of the People of Israel, imploring you to release Jonathan Pollard.
Jonathan Pollard has now served 28 years of a life sentence in American prisons. A few short weeks from now, he will mark his 10,000th day in jail. Both he and Israel have repeatedly expressed remorse. We have learned our lesson and have been living with the painful consequences for nearly 3 decades.
We are encouraged by the appeals of Secretaries of State Kissinger and Schultz, among the many American officials calling for Jonathan Pollard’s release, including many who have first-hand knowledge of the case, because of the gross disproportionality of his sentence. Jonathan’s failing health lends urgency to their appeals.
We, The People, simple citizens of the State of Israel, sincerely hope that you will take this opportunity to respond positively to the many requests for Jonathan Pollard’s release, including those made by Prime Minister Netanyahu and President Peres on our behalf.
We appeal to you as one who symbolizes the shared values of humanity, compassion and hope for a second chance, that both of our nations embrace. We implore you to commute Jonathan Pollard’s sentence to time served without delay and allow him to live out his remaining days as a free man. It is our fervent hope and prayer that your upcoming trip to Israel will bring us the good news we have waited for, for so very long, and that this tragic and painful episode can finally be put to rest once and for all.
The petition can be found at: http://www.atzuma.co.il/presidentobama
Aryeh Savir, Tazpit News Agency