Convicted Israeli spy Jonathan Pollard, who is serving a life sentence in the U.S. has been hospitalized after collapsing in prison over the weekend, according to the Knesset control committee charged with trying to secure his release.
In recent weeks Pollard, 58, has suffered from severe pains, although it was still unclear whether his latest medical emergency was related to his existing ailments. Pollard's wife Esther, who was notified of his condition, told the Knesset committee's members on Saturday that she was very concerned over her husband's deteriorating health. She also requested that the public pray for his recovery.
In August 2011 Pollard underwent emergency kidney surgery, and in April this year he was rushed to the hospital after his health deteriorated significantly. Two weeks ago, Pollard began serving his 28th year in prison.
Esther Pollard turned to President Shimon Peres' office recently to keep him abreast of Pollard's medical condition. Last year, Peres sent a special request to U.S. President Barack Obama asking that Pollard be pardoned immediately for humanitarian reasons due to his health problems.
Voices calling for Pollard's release have become more prevalent in the U.S. in recent months. Among those calling for his pardon are former Secretaries of State Henry Kissinger and George Shultz, and former CIA Director James Woolsey, who have written to Obama to express their support for Pollard's release based on the disproportionate nature of his punishment. They have noted that Pollard’s is the only case in U.S. history in which a spy from a friendly country was punished to such an extent.