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January 19, 2017 / 21 Tevet, 5777

Posts Tagged ‘sentence’

The Pollard Petition

Wednesday, May 2nd, 2012

The Jewish Press urges readers to sign a circulating petition that calls on Shimon Peres to do all he can, in advance of accepting the Presidential Medal of Freedom from President Obama, to persuade Mr. Obama to free Jonathan Pollard, the Israeli spy serving a life sentence in a federal prison. (President Obama announced last month that he would be awarding the Medal to Mr. Peres, the president of Israel, in June.)

The petition appears in Hebrew (the project began in Israel, but there is also an accompanying English version) and can be joined by logging on to JonathanPollard.org.

Although Mr. Peres sent a letter to President Obama requesting Mr. Pollard’s release, to this point no such action has been taken. And supporters of Mr. Pollard note the incongruity of the Israeli statesman accepting an award from the American president while Mr. Pollard continues to languish in an American jail under a sentence denounced as draconian and excessive by dozens of former American officials.

We have long felt, and emerging evidence seems to confirm, that Jonathan Pollard’s extraordinary life sentence resulted in no small measure from his having spied for Israel, which though a close ally of the U.S. was anathema to some senior officials in the Reagan administration, particularly then-Secretary of Defense Caspar Weinberger, and several members of the intelligence community. So it cannot be that Pollard’s plight should not somehow resonate when Israel’s president receives the highest U.S. civilian award – especially given that it was Mr. Peres who happened to be the prime minister of Israel when Mr. Pollard was apprehended.

What role the Israeli president can play here is not clear. But it merits mentioning that in announcing the honor to be bestowed on Mr. Peres, President Obama pointed to the 89-year-old statesman’s long career as one of the architects of modern Israel and his great diplomatic skills. “He has taught us to ask more of ourselves, and to empathize more with our fellow human beings,” said Mr. Obama.

If enough of us sign that online petition, perhaps Mr. Peres might just feel empowered enough to use those diplomatic skills to persuade President Obama to empathize with – and release – Jonathan Pollard.

Editorial Board

Hebron Residents May Appeal Eviction Ruling

Sunday, April 22nd, 2012

According to Walla News, Hebron’s Jewish community Sunday morning said they will consider an appear of the ruling by the Jerusalem District Court which ordered the evacuation of Jewish residents from a three-story building in Hebron.

The court determined that the acquisition of the house was a forgery.

Walla cites Hebron residents who ardued that “the court’s decision clearly states that a death sentence threatens every Arab who sells his house to the Jews in Hebron, and yet the Israeli government does not confront this anti-Semitic law (of the Palestinian Authority) and even collaborates with it.”

“Our own lesson from this acquisition, was to improve our methods of collecting and preserving the evidence in later purchases. We will study the ruling and will consider an appeal.”

Jewish Press News Briefs

Skverer Rebbe’s Butler Facing 5-10 Years for Arson Attack

Sunday, April 15th, 2012

According to LoHud.com, Shaul Spitzer, 18, who used to be the Skverer Rebbe’s Butler, is facing 5-10 years for first-degree assault in his attack on Aron Rottenberg in May, 2011, in New Square, NY.

Rottenberg, 44, is recovering from the third-degree burns he sustained over 50 percent of his body, when Spitzer set off an incendiary device at Rottenberg’s home.

Rottenberg was attacked because he chose not to pray at New Square’s main synagogue, under the leadership of the Skverer Rebbe, Rabbi David Twersky. Spitzer was charged with first degree arson and second degree attempted murder.

Rabbi Twersky condemned the attack and asked his followers to pray for Rottenberg’s recovery.

Spitzer was indicted by a grand jury last June and pleaded not guilty. But in February 7, 2012, he pleaded guilty to assault.

Spitzer’s attorneys Kenneth Gribetz, Deborah Wolikow Loewenberg and Paul Shectman told LoHud.com they were hoping for five years, with an early release for good behavior.

“We’re appealing to the court and will be asking the court to render the minimum sentence of five years,” Gribetz said. “Five years is a hard sentence for anyone. But for a young man who has lived in New Square for his entire life, the sentence will be even tougher.”

Prosecutor Stephen Moore will be demanding the 10-year sentence Spitzer accepted when he pleaded guilty.

Tibbi Singer

Obama to Pollard, Peres, Knesset: Drop Dead

Tuesday, April 10th, 2012

The White House on Monday rejected an emotional appeal by Israel’s President Shimon Peres to commute convicted Israeli spy Jonathan Pollard’s life sentence. Peres based his appeal on Pollard’s fast deteriorating health, after Peres’ recent conversation with Pollard’s wife Esther. Peres’ appeal came after he had received a petition signed by 80 MKs, urging Obama to release Pollard.

In June, President Peres will receive the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the highest US civilian award. Peres is under intense pressure from the Pollard “lobby” to reject the award if Pollard is not freed.

“Our position hasn’t changed,” National Security Council spokesman Tommy Vietor said in an email to Yahoo News. Asked whether the White House had received Peres’ written plea to President Barack Obama for clemency, Vietor said he was not sure “but the position is the same.”

Obama had rejected a January 2011 request from Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to free Pollard, a former US Navy intelligence analyst convicted in 1985 of passing classified information to  Israel.

Jacob Edelist

It’s My Opinion: The Empty Chair

Thursday, March 22nd, 2012

The Passover Seder is the most celebrated religious event among Jews in America. Attendance exceeds even Yom Kippur services. There is something very fundamental about this holiday rite. It is tied to the redemption and birth of the Jewish nation. Unfortunately, there is one Jew who will not be attending a family Seder, and hasn’t for the past 27 years. His name is Jonathan Pollard.

Pollard was working as a civilian American Naval analyst in the mid-1980s. He became aware of information being withheld from Israel that was vital for its security. He attempted to go through normal protocol to warn Israel but hit a stone wall. When his continued efforts proved futile, he passed the information directly to Israel. He felt that innocent Jewish lives were in jeopardy.

Pollard’s activities were discovered. He was arrested and charged with sharing information with a friendly government, without the intent to harm the United States.

Pollard agreed to a plea deal. The median sentence for this type of charge has always been two to four years in prison. The American government did not honor the agreement and Pollard was sentenced to life in prison. No other individual in the history of the United States has ever received a life sentence for this type of infraction.

At this year’s Seder, set a place for Jonathan. His continued incarceration is a disgrace. We must insist, with a united voice, “Let our brother go!”

To learn more about Jonathan Pollard and how you can help, visit www.jonathanpollard.org.

Shelley Benveniste

New Knesset Law Gets Tough on ‘Get’ Refusers

Wednesday, March 21st, 2012

Two bills that change the Israeli Rabbinical Court’s system for dealing with people who refuse to give or accept a Get – the document required to finalize a divorce by Jewish law – passed into law yesterday. The two bills, which were merged into one, were sponsored by MK Otniel Schneller (Kadima) and MK Zevulun Orlev (Jewish Home) and endorsed with the blessings of Rabbinical Courts Chairman Rabbi Shlomo Dichovsky and Israeli Chief Rabbi Shlomo Amar. The bill received the nickname the “Sanctions Law” for making it easier to impose sanctions on people who refuse to give or accept a Get.

The bill states that the Rabbinical Court must determine a court date for a Get within 45 days of a divorce sentence. If the court is authorizing a divorce agreement, the date of the Get hearing will also be within 45 days. If the Get is not given within that time, the court will issue a ‘restriction order’ on the Mesarev Get and hold another hearing within the following 45 days. The court will meet within 90 days of giving a restriction order to discuss it and decide if it must be extended. If no restriction order was issued, the court will set a date for a hearing about the possibility of issuing one within 45 days.

The court will be able to use these extensions as they see fit. There will be no need to have more than one judge hearing the case extensions, but if a judge wishes to invoke a restriction order he must call in the other judges within 15 days. The new law will also make it more difficult to appeal a restriction order.

The law will allow appeals on the absence of a restriction order to be heard by the Higher Rabbinical Court within 60 days, and forces a court decision within 60 days of the hearing. If the appeal on the absence of a restriction order is heard in a regular Rabbinical Court, the decision must be made within 30 days.

The bill passed its second and third readings late last night 11-1 and 9-1, respectively. Ultra-Orthodox MK Maklev (United Torah Judaism), who was running the session as Deputy Speaker, was the sole MK to oppose the bill. He did not provide a reason for his objection.

Jeremy Saltan

Jonathan Pollard And The McFarlane Factor

Wednesday, March 7th, 2012

Israeli President Shimon Peres, during his meeting with President Obama on Sunday, asked the president to release Jonathan Pollard. It was also reported that Prime Minister Netanyahu planned to make the same request of the president at their meeting on Monday. There have been no reports about how Mr. Obama responded to the Peres request or whether Mr. Netanyahu did in fact make similarly petition the president. To be sure, reports of this sort have surfaced before and led to much useless speculation, but a recent development on the Pollard front could be significant.

Over the past two years, a number of former high-ranking U.S. officials – several with national security responsibilities – have called for Mr. Pollard’s release on various grounds. Several weeks ago it was reported that Robert “Bud” McFarlane, President Ronald Reagan’s national security adviser at the time of the Pollard arrest and obviously someone privy to all the information known to the government – wrote a letter to President Obama asking that Mr. Pollard’s sentence be commuted to time served. Significantly, Mr. McFarlane characterized Mr. Pollard’s life sentence as a “great injustice,” something “well beyond what any court would award for the same action today.”

Even more significant was what Mr. McFarlane had to say about the pre-sentencing affidavit of Caspar Weinberger, which was credited with sealing Mr. Pollard’s fate:

I must add that the affidavit filed by former Secretary of Defense Caspar Weinberger, was surely inspired in large part by his deeply held animus toward the state of Israel. His extreme bias against Israel was manifested in recurrent episodes of strong criticism and unbalanced reasoning when decisions involving Israel were being made.

We recognize that President Obama and Prime Minister Netanyahu are dealing with issues that may affect the fate of tens of millions of people. But that does not mean the palpable injustice visited on an individual by a vengeful government official has no place at the table. Especially at Purim time.

It is time to let Jonathan Pollard go home. He has languished in a federal prison under a Draconian sentence long enough.

Editorial Board

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/indepth/editorial/jonathan-pollard-and-the-mcfarlane-factor/2012/03/07/

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