Jonathan Pollard’s medical condition won’t enable him to survive through another year of jail, his wife was quoted as saying in a statement on Monday, 26 years into the convicted Israeli spy’s prison sentence.
Pollard, who was convicted of espionage for Israel and was sentenced to life imprisonment in 1986, has been suffering from many medical complications in his gallbladder and kidneys, undergoing an emergency operation in August of this year.
In a statement released by the campaign for Pollard’s release, Esther Pollard expressed fears that her husband could die as a result of his medical complications, saying: “I’m afraid he won’t be able to survive another year of this.”
“In the last few months it has happened often that he could not garner enough strength to get to the phone and use the few minutes he has to contact the outside world. He has terrible kidney complications that are causing him excruciating pain,” Pollard said, adding after “26 years all his systems are feeble and we both know that the next emergency hospitalization or operation are just a matter a time, and that no one is promising us he’ll make it through.”
The convicted Israeli spy’s wife also commented on her husband’s inability to accept visitors in prison, saying that in “the past we would arrange a visit for anyone who could possibly do something to advance his release, as soon as we settled things as far as prison protocol goes.”
“In the last year, as Jonathan’s [medical] condition became worse he was too weak to even sit through a one-hour visit. I feel he’s withering away in front of my very eyes,” Pollard said.
The statement released by the campaign to release Pollard for the twenty-sixth anniversary of his incarceration, also quoted an unnamed U.S. official who had allegedly opposed Pollard’s release in the past, as saying that he felt obligated to act now, adding that as an American it was important to prevent the convicted Israeli spy from dying in jail.
Pollard’s lengthy prison sentence made headlines last month, when U.S. President Joe Biden denied he said Pollard would be released “over his dead body,” telling U.S. Jewish leaders, however, that the sentiment expressed in his rejection was his own.
Referring to the convicted Israeli spy, Biden was quoted by the New York Times as telling Florida rabbis that U.S. President Obama “was considering clemency, but I told him, ‘Over my dead body are we going to let him out before his time’’”
However, U.S. Jewish leaders speaking with Haaretz on Monday said the U.S. vice president claimed that while the general thrust of the statement was correct, his exact phrasing was taken out of context.
Malcolm Hoenlein, Executive Vice Chairman of the Conference of Presidents, said he, along with other Jewish leaders, approached Biden on the issue during the U.S. vice president’s Rosh Hashanah reception in Washington, saying: “He did say that things were taken out of context, but he was ready to discuss it further.”
“We said it was an important issue for the community, and he agreed to have a meeting on it,” Hoenlein said.
For more, go to Haaretz.com