After 30 years in US imprisonment, the spy is received in person by Netanyahu
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Jonathan Pollard spent 30 years in the United States behind bars because he spied for Israel. Now he has flown to Israel in a private jet. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was personally waiting at the airport.
Dhe ex-US secret service agent Jonathan Pollard, imprisoned for decades for espionage for Israel, has emigrated to Israel. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu met Pollard and his wife Esther personally at Tel Aviv airport on Wednesday morning. “Welcome back. So good that you came home, ”the head of government was quoted in a statement from his office. A video showed Pollard kissing Israeli soil. First the newspaper “Israel Hayom” reported on his arrival.
As a civil intelligence analyst for the U.S. Navy, Pollard sold military secrets to Israel in the 1980s. He was arrested in 1985 after unsuccessfully seeking asylum at the Israeli embassy in Washington. Pollard pleaded guilty. The affair embarrassed Israel and strained relations with the United States for years.
Pollard has been sentenced to life imprisonment. Again and again, Pentagon and intelligence officials spoke out against his dismissal. But after 30 years in federal prison, Pollard was released in November 2015. A five-year probation period followed, which ended in November this year. This in turn paved the way for his departure from the USA. Shortly after his release, Netanyahu had assured Pollard that Israel was waiting for him. His country will also provide high-quality medical treatment for his wife Esther, who suffers from cancer, the Israeli Prime Minister promised.
After leaving the country on a private plane owned by the US billionaire and casino entrepreneur Sheldon Adelson, the 66-year-old and his wife were delighted to arrive at Ben Gurion Airport near Tel Aviv. Esther Pollard also kissed the Israeli soil. Pollard then thanked Netanyahu and the Jewish people for supporting him. “We hope to become productive citizens as soon as possible and get on with our lives here.”
Pollard’s release can be seen as a diplomatic gift to Netanyahu from outgoing US President Donald Trump. The two were close allies on the international stage. For the past four years, Trump recognized Jerusalem as the Israeli capital and had the US embassy moved there. With the mediation of the USA, Israel and several Arab countries also reached agreements to normalize diplomatic relations.