Israel spy Jonathan Pollard banned from father's funeral

A Facebook campaign to free Israeli agent Jonathan Pollard from a US prison apparently sent the White House switchboard into meltdown on Sunday.

Pollard was jailed for life in 1985 for spying for Israel. American-Jewish leaders began lobbying for his release under the grounds of "compassionate leave" after his father, Morris Pollard, was taken ill and his condition deteriorated whilst being treated in hospital. He died on Saturday.

A petition drive was organised before his death by MK for the Kadima Party Nachman Shai, which gathered 75 Israeli MKs signatures in a bid to ask Obama to allow Pollard to visit his dying father.

The petition, accompanied with a letter, said: "This could be the last opportunity for father and son to see each other."

It was supposed to have been handed to Vice President Joe Biden, but had not yet reached him by Saturday.

Mr Shai said that the letter would be re-worded to ask for Pollard to be given compassionate leave to attend his father's funeral.

Last updated: 3:24pm, June 20 2011