Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, the American Jonathan Pollard, who spent 30 years in prison in the United States for spying for Israel, promised a warm welcome and a comfortable life in
Promised Prime Minister of Israel Benjamin Netanyahu American Jonathan Pollard, who spent 30 years in prison in the United States for spying for Israel, received a warm welcome and a comfortable life in Israel after the restrictions associated with his conditional release ended.
“We are waiting for you with open arms even in spite of the Corona virus, and you will enjoy the true embrace of the Israeli people,” Netanyahu said in a video clip distributed by his office on Tuesday that depicts part of a phone call with Pollard and his wife Esther on Monday.
Pollard, a former information analyst in the US Navy, was arrested in 1985 outside the Israeli embassy in Washington, DC, which deported him while he was seeking asylum when he was caught by law enforcement. Pollard was sentenced to life in prison in 1987.
On Monday, restrictions imposed on Pollard when he was released on parole in 2015 ended. Pollard, 66, said that he and his wife would go to Israel to live there, but he did not specify a date for their travel.
“She must now enjoy a comfortable life … and we can take care of Esther with the best medical treatment in the world,” Netanyahu told Pollard, whose wife is ill.
While Pollard, who was born in Texas, was in prison, Israel granted him its citizenship, and for a long time Israel pressed for his release, but several American presidents did not respond to its pressure.
Pollard pleaded guilty in 1986 to the charge of conspiracy to obtain espionage, by providing Israelis with hundreds of secret documents obtained from his work in Naval Intelligence in exchange for thousands of dollars.
Some see the US Justice Department’s decision not to re-impose any restrictions on Pollard’s travel as a farewell gift to Israel from the administration of President Donald Trump.
“I really want to congratulate you on the end of the nightmare that you were in and that you can return to the homeland, to Israel,” Netanyahu said. “It will really be an important moment, an important moment for all of us,” he added.