Leading up to and now carrying through President Obama’s visit, one inescapable name has been that of convicted American spy Jonathan Pollard. American and Israeli politicians have filed pleas asking for his release, a petition has garnered 175,000 signatures in Israel, Gilad Shalit has spoken out along with several members of the Knesset.
With Obama in Israel, an array of signs, protests, and other forms of public notice have cropped up to bring Pollard’s cause to the forefront, even as Obama has issued a statement saying that he has no immediately plans to release him. Today, during the President’s speech in Jerusalem, a heckler added his voice to the chorus:
As you can see, Obama knew how to handle it. But that doesn’t mean the issue is going away. The latest news is that Yityish Aynaw, the newly minted Miss Israel, whom President Obama will reportedly meet tonight at the State Dinner plans to bring up Pollard’s issue if she gets the chance.
Chances are, if President Obama can turn down Esther Pollard, Shimon Peres, Gilad Shalit, members of the American Jewish leadership, and the grassroots popular calls, Miss Israel doesn’t stand a chance.
Adam Chandler was previously a staff writer at Tablet. His work has appeared in the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, the Atlantic, Slate, Esquire, New York, and elsewhere. He tweets @allmychandler.