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Peres working for release of Jonathan Pollard

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10 Apr 2012 (All day)
Peres working for release of Jonathan Pollard

Israeli President Shimon Peres's office issued a press statement Tuesday about the official request Peres recently issued to US President Barak Obama for the release of Israeli agent Jonathan Pollard, who was convicted for espionage in 1987 and sentenced to life in prison. Pollard was recently admitted to the hospital and Peres, among others, have asked Obama to release him on humanitarian grounds. The Obama Administration has, so far, reiterated the position of previous administrations that Pollard would not be granted a Presidential pardon and released, but the statement by Peres’s office said the Administration has yet to offer an official reply to the latest request, despite the statements to the media by Administration officials. "President Peres issued his request officially and personally to president Obama and we are all waiting for the official and personal response of Obama directly to Peres," said an Israeli official. "President Obama is the only one with the authority to commute sentences, so any declarations by any other officials are irrelevant."

Israel beefing up security for weekend ‘Flytilla’
Israel’s diplomatic and security personnel are gearing up for the planned second annual ‘Flytilla’ of international anti-Israel activists to Ben-Gurion International airport on Sunday. Last year’s attempt by activists to storm the airport was largely a non-event, with journalists on hand to cover the event outnumbering activists who actually arrived. Public Security Minister Yitzhak Aharonovitch told Channel 1 news on Monday that Israel hopes to repeat the success it had last year of sending blacklists of known troublemakers to different countries, especially in Europe, and thereby preventing them from boarding their aircraft in the first place. 124 activists made it to Israel and were promptly arrested and deported last year, while a handful managed to get through security and were arrested and deported in the following days, some after engaging in violent clashes with police.

Israelis enjoying warmer weather
Spring has made a glorious transition to early summer in the Jewish State, with an estimated 170,000 Israelis visiting national parks over the Passover weekend to enjoy the sunny skies and cool breeze after a long and wet winter which included heavy snow on Mount Hermon as well as in Jerusalem and several other areas. Opening hours were extended at several national parks and public areas, although temperatures are expected to drop and there is even the possibility of rain by the end of the week.

Study; Israelis are overworked
The Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) issued a report recently showing that Israelis work 251 more hours a year than the average in OECD countries. The gap between Israel and many developed countries in Western Europe is even greater. Israelis have a correspondingly low amount of leisure time, and also an average of 6.5 hours of sleep a night. Still, 85% of Israelis manage to read more than one book a month, and levels of time spent on cultural activities such as playing a musical instrument are also relatively high.

Suleiman regarded as best option for Israel in Egyptian elections
Former Mubarak regime heavyweight Omar Suleiman, who announced his candidacy for the presidency of Egypt in recent days, as generated a great deal of interest, including from Islamist parties who he has accused of sending him death threats and engaging in more prosaic smear campaigns, including a rumor that he is the preferred candidate of the ruling Supreme Council of the Armed Forces, which he denies. Meanwhile, Israeli MK Binyamin Ben-Eliezer (Labor) told Israel Radio on Monday Suleiman would be the best option for Israel because he is a pragmatic former military officer who “loves Egypt” and regards peaceful relations with the Jewish State as being very much in Egypt’s strategic interest.

 

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