When he arrived, Jonathan Pollard was kissing Israeli soil – the country he had spied on. His work put a heavy strain on the relationship between the United States and Israel.
He was imprisoned in the United States for 30 years for espionage for Israel. Jonathan Pollard arrived in the Jewish state on Wednesday. Pollard and his wife Esther were met by Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu at Tel Aviv airport. Netanyahu gave Pollard an Israeli identity card.
The former US naval officer, released five years ago, knelt down on a private plane and kissed the floor upon his arrival. “You’re home now,” Netanyahu told the couple. Pollard thanked the prime minister for his help and said he and his wife wanted to start a new life in Israel.
After 30 years in prison, a five-year travel ban follows
Pollard was arrested in the USA in 1985 and sentenced to life imprisonment in 1987 for espionage. During his work as a civilian marine analyst, he had forwarded top-secret documents to Israel several times. In November 2015, the now 66-year-old was released after 30 years in prison. However, he was still considered a security risk and was not allowed to leave the United States for five years.
The Pollard case had resulted in considerable diplomatic upheaval between the US and Israel. Israel granted him Israeli citizenship during his imprisonment.