Israeli U.S. Ambassador Visits Pollard

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Israel's U.S. Ambassador Michael Oren visited convicted Israeli spy Jonathan Pollard in prison on Tuesday.  Oren's is the first official visit by a representative of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's government.

Pollard's wife, Esther, who accompanied Oren on the visit, said she didn't know "how much longer he can last in there." Esther is reportedly battling cancer.

It has been more than five years since a member of the Israeli Embassy in Washington visited Pollard, whose health is deteriorating after serving more than 25 years of a life sentence.

Last month, U.S. officials refused to allow Pollard to attend the funeral of his father -- Professor Morris Pollard -- a respected cancer researcher at Notre Dame University -- who passed away at age 95. Netanyahu and 71 Knesset members submitted an official request to President Barack Obama to allow Pollard to attend his father's funeral. 

Pollard sent a message through Oren asking Netanyahu and President Shimon Peres to "act through any means they can to obtain my release before it's too late."

During the visit, Pollard reportedly struggled to keep his composure when talking about his wife's health.

Petitions by leading U.S. politicians and public officials to grant clemency to Pollard have fallen on deaf ears in successive American administrations, despite repeated pleas over the disproportionate punishment relative to his conviction.

Obama has not responded to a request earlier this year by Netanyahu to allow Pollard to live out the remainder of his life with his wife in Israel.

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