The White House confirmed on Tuesday that it had received President Shimon Peres' letter to President Barack Obama regarding the release of Israeli spy Jonathan Pollard, but, as one U.S. official indicated, the American president's position on the issue "has not changed."
The letter, sent Monday by Peres requested clemency and cited Pollard's severe health situation in asking that he be released from Butner Federal Correctional Complex in North Carolina, where he is serving a life sentence for spying for Israel.
The letter was delivered to Obama via U.S. Ambassador Dan Shapiro, Ha'aretz reported.
Pollard reportedly was rushed to a hospital outside of the prison on the eve of Passover suffering from an unspecified emergency condition. He has suffered from a variety of illnesses since being imprisoned in 1986.
A petition signed by more than 35,000 Israelis has called on Peres to link the awarding of the medal to clemency for Pollard. Former captive Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit signed the petition last week.
Peres on Monday also received a petition signed by 80 Israeli lawmakers calling on Obama to release Pollard, according to reports.
Ex-Argentinians in Israel help to rebuild JCC
Some Argentinians who moved to Israel have launched a campaign to rebuild a Buenos Aires province Jewish center destroyed in a tornado.
The campaign by former members of Bet Am del Oeste-CISO, the only Jewish club in the western Buenos Aires province, has brought in $7,000 in its first two days; the institution needs at least $50,000 to rebuild. It was destroyed in the April 5 storm, which has caused 17 deaths and major damage. Bet Am del Oeste-CISO has 400 members.
The new Israelis are donating $100 for each of their children.
"The objective is to raise quickly 100 donors of $100 to buy the material to solve the emergency," Ariel Yeguerman of Kibbutz Or Haner told JTA. The kibbutz is located in southern Israel, near the city of Sderot.
Egyptian gas pipeline to Israel attacked for 14th time
Egypt's pipeline carrying gas to Israel and Jordan was attacked for the 14th time in more than a year.
The explosion occurred Monday morning at the entrance to El Arish in the northern Sinai Peninsula, Reuters reported.
The attack comes days after a rocket fired from the Sinai struck a residential area in the southern Israeli resort town of Eilat.
The pipeline has been closed since a similar attack on Feb. 5. It has been blown up 14 times since uprisings began in February 2011 against Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak, who was deposed. No arrests have been made in any of the attacks.
The supply of gas to Israel has been halted numerous times in the last year, leading to a scramble to find alternate fuel sources to produce electricity that are more expensive.
Egypt supplies Israel with more than 40 percent of its natural gas needs to produce electricity; electricity prices have risen by more than 20 percent in Israel since the attacks began.
Rockets fired from Gaza land in Israel
Two rockets fired from Gaza struck southern Israel a day after Israel's Air Force hit a terrorist cell preparing to launch rockets at Israel.
The rockets fired from Gaza Sunday morning struck open areas in the city of Netivot. There were no injuries or damage, according to reports. Later Sunday a Kassam rocket struck Sderot, causing no injuries or damage.
On Saturday, Israel's Air Force struck a Gaza terror cell east of Rafah in southern Gaza that was getting ready to fire rockets at Israel. Two of the terrorists were lightly injured, according to Palestinian reports.
"The Israel Defense Forces will not tolerate any attempt to harm Israeli citizens and will act against anyone who uses terror against Israel," the IDF said in a statement. "The Hamas terrorist organization is the address, and it bears the responsibility" for attacks emanating from Gaza.
- compiled from reports by JTA News and Features