Esther Pollard, the wife of jailed Israeli spy Jonathan Pollard, has asked U.S. President Barack Obama ahead of his upcoming trip to Israel to pardon her husband.
"Mr. President, all that Jonathan and I ask for is your compassion and mercy," Pollard said on Monday during an interview with Channel 2 News.
"My and Jonathan's greatest dream is for Jonathan to be home for Passover this year; that he will be able to sit beside me for the Passover Seder and drink a glass of wine as a free man after 28 years. Please, please, let Jonathan return home now for the holiday of liberty here in Israel."
Some 150,000 people have signed an online petition requesting Pollard's release. Former soldier Gilad Schalit, who was held in Hamas captivity for five years, added his name to the petition on Monday.
Schalit posted a message to the Facebook page of the organization that worked to secure his release, saying, "Freedom is a gift and great privilege. Thank you to all those who acted on my behalf. Now please join in saving Pollard."
President Shimon Peres has said he will raise the issue of Pollard’s release when the U.S. president visits the Jewish state next week. Pollard, 58 and reportedly in poor health, has served more than 27 years of his life sentence.