Jonathan Pollard, the spy who still embarrasses Israel

Officially Israel prefers to keep a low profile, but the Pollard affair is in all the headlines. While the American Jewish spy is now free to leave the territory of the United States, the press returns to the last chapter of this spy novel which, for 35 years, has poisoned relations between the two countries.

“The Pollard affair: a story of love and suspicion”. The title is that ofIsraël Hayom, the newspaper with the strong circulation close to Likud, the party of Benyamin Netanyahu. The daily recounts over the years the vengeful approach of the American government and intelligence, the diplomatic crisis between the two countries, while we were still in the middle of the cold war, the agreement made with the American prosecution, then canceled for to confess the spy, and the visits of American ministers to the jail of the man who had worked for the Israeli secret service.

Jonathan Pollard, a former US Navy analyst, was in fact arrested in 1985 for spying for the benefit of the Hebrew state: he delivered to Israel a great deal of classified information. He pleaded guilty, and was sentenced in 1987 to life imprisonment. After 30 years in prison, he was paroled in November 2015 with an obligation to wear an electronic bracelet, to adhere to a curfew and a ban on leaving the United States for five more years. Since November 21, he is now free to leave the United States, announced the United States Department of Justice.

“American intelligence had a heavy hand”

“Everyone was wrong in this matter”, asserts in Yediot Aharonot Elyakim Rubinstein, former Israeli Supreme Court judge and ex-diplomat. In 1987, he was number two in the Israeli embassy in Washington. And it was in this capacity that he closed the door of his legation to the spy who came to find refuge there, while he was being pursued by the agents of the FBI. “The intelligence community in the United States had a heavy hand ”, underlines again the former diplomat.

In all the media we find Alan Dershowitz, Jonathan Pollard’s lawyer after his arrest, who is convinced that his ex-client, naturalized Israeli during his stay in prison, will do his job very soon. alya, that is, to emigrate to Israel. He is expected to reach the country by the time of Hanukkah, he says. The lawyer also gives advice to Israeli leaders:

Keep a low profile on this case! ”

“Welcome to our beloved country”, proclaims for its part in Maariv Efi Lahav, who heads the committee for the release of Pollard.

In Haaretz, Gideon Levy compare Jonathan Pollard to another former spy. Mordechai Vanunu, the nuclear technician who revealed at Sunday Times the secrets of the Israeli atom in 1986. After serving an 18-year prison term in Israel for disclosing state secrets, he is still closely watched. “One is a free hero today, the other is still being held hostage ”, comments Gideon Levy.

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