Orthodox Union chief makes plea to U.S. on Pollards behalf

NEW YORK — The president of the Orthodox Union has asked the U.S. ambassador to Israel to intercede with President Clinton on behalf of Jonathan Pollard, the American Jew serving a life sentence in the United States for spying for Israel.

O.U. president Mendell Ganchrow met with Ambassador Martin Indyk on Thursday of last week, just before the diplomat addressed about 350 O.U. members attending the organization's conference in Jerusalem.

Indyk did not respond to Ganchrow's request in his speech.

The O.U. held its weeklong convention in Jerusalem to honor the city's 3,000th anniversary.

Israel officially granted citizenship to Pollard last week.

"Clinton told American Jewish leaders that he would not consider clemency for Jonathan until the legal papers were actually filed, which Pollard did two weeks ago," said Ganchrow in an interview from Jerusalem.

"Now the Israeli government has granted Pollard a passport," he added.

"In view of those two facts, we ask that he act on it so that Jonathan Pollard can spend Pesach in Israel. He has served enough time. He should be allowed to leave."

The O.U. has about 1,000 member synagogues, said Ganchrow, and represents some 600,000 Orthodox American Jews.

Pollard, who was arrested outside the Israeli Embassy in Washington in 1985, has served 10 years in federal prisons. Several parole requests have been denied.