Netanyahu Makes Call to Release Jonathan Pollard on YouTube

Prime minister says in video that the convicted spy's sentence is disproportionate to the severity of his actions, and urges U.S. President Obama to release him for humanitarian reasons.

ברק רביד - צרובה
Barak Ravid
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ברק רביד - צרובה
Barak Ravid

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu released a special YouTube video on Wednesday, reiterating his request to free convicted Israeli spy Jonathan Pollard.

The prime minister said in the video that Israel was wrong to have activated Pollard as a spy in the U.S., but stated that his prison sentence was disproportionate to the severity of his actions.

Prime Minister Benjamin NetanyahuCredit: AP

Pollard has been in prison in the U.S. since 1985 and was sentenced to life in prison two years later.

"What happened with Pollard is a tragedy; Israel was wrong and admitted to this mistake. We know that Jonathan Pollard has been sitting in prison for more than 25 years, more than any other in a similar case, and even more than spies who acted against the U.S. in more severe cases, who were released," Netanyahu said in the video.

"I have sent [U.S.] President Obama a request that I know the people of Israel support – free Jonathan. And I hope this request will be granted for humanitarian reasons," he added.

In January this year, The Prime Minister's Office sent the first formal request to U.S. President Barack Obama for Pollard's release.

The White House has spurned all requests to this date.