6-20-11 Prof. Morris Pollard, an acclaimed cancer researcher at Notre Dame University, was laid to rest on Monday at Hebrew Orthodox Cemetery in South Bend, Indiana.
His children, Harvey and Carol, and other family members attended the funeral, but his more famous son, imprisoned Israeli agent Jonathan Pollard, was not permitted to be there despite pleas from American Jewish leaders and Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu’s office.
Pro-Pollard activists shut down White House switchboard
Why Obama should commute Pollard’s sentence
Editorial: Let Pollard honor his father
The elder Pollard was buried next to his wife, Molly, who died in 2001. Jonathan Pollard was not allowed to attend his mother’s funeral either.
The family said it was extremely hurt that it did not receive any sort of response from US officials – even a negative response – despite the fact that Morris Pollard had volunteered to experiment with new immunizations during World War II, risking his life for his homeland. Pollard received a commendation medal and three presidential citations for his wartime research.
“If they would have at least said that they considered [allowing Jonathan Pollard to attend his father’s funeral] and then refused, it would have given the minimum respect,” the Pollard family said in a statement.
Jonathan Pollard’s wife, Esther, flew to North Carolina, where he is imprisoned, in hopes of going to the funeral with him, and thus missed the burial.
Army radio reported that the decision not to permit Pollard to attend the funeral had been made by US State Department officials who consulted with the American Embassy in Tel Aviv.
“We are very disappointed and sad because we were really hopeful, and we were asking for so little,” Esther Pollard said. “There’s no way to make up for this. There won’t be another chance. All he wanted was to pay his respects and honor his father one last time.
Now is the time to make sure Jonathan comes home alive. That’s the only thing that’s left to do now.”
Attendees at the funeral described it as very somber and rainy. They said it was attended by more than a hundred friends, family members and students of Prof. Pollard. Harvey and Carol Pollard both eulogized their father.
Coalition chairman Ze’ev Elkin (Likud) said that despite the failure to obtain a furlough for Jonathan Pollard to attend, he hoped that efforts by the government and the Knesset to persuade US President Barack Obama to commute his sentence to time served would eventually succeed.