Former Israel Defense Forces Military Intelligence chief Maj. Gen. (res.) Amos Yadlin on Saturday voiced his support for the release of convicted spy Jonathan Pollard, who has served more than 27 years of a life sentence for espionage.
"Senior U.S. officials who are familiar with all the classified information in the Pollard case are saying that his sentence is disproportionate and that he should be released," Yadlin said on Saturday on Channel 2's "Meet the Press."
Over the years, Israel has urged various U.S. administrations to commute his sentence, to no avail. In recent years, the Free Pollard Campaign has stepped up its efforts on behalf of the Israeli spy, saying his increasingly failing health can be used as grounds for a presidential pardon.
Calls urging for Pollard's release have grown louder as U.S. President Barack Obama's visit to Israel draws near.
Yadlin has thrown his support behind the recent effort to have Pollard pardoned and has signed the most recent petition demanding his release. More than 125,000 people have signed the petition so far.
"I'm happy to be a part of this just demand that many others are backing as well," he said.
Meanwhile, White House deputy press secretary Joshua Earnest said that Obama's visit to Israel would not be postponed, regardless of whether Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu successfully forms a coalition.
"We're going," Earnest said, when asked to comment on media speculation that the prolonged horse-trading following Israel's elections could cause him to delay the trip.
"The formation of the Israeli government is the responsibility of Prime Minister Netanyahu and other senior officials in the Israeli government," Earnest said.
"That is not something that the president would interfere with. The president is primarily going on this trip to accomplish a couple of things. He is very interested in talking to the Israeli people. We are also operating at a time when the region, Israel's neighborhood if you will, is undergoing a pretty severe transition.
"It is important for the people of Israel to understand that the American people stand with them in this time of crisis and that we are going to be there to protect them."