Member of Knesset Shai: Peres didn’t betray Pollard

Peres was prime minister at the time of Pollard’s 1985 arrest.

By
September 30, 2016 00:42
1 minute read.
Israeli spy Jonathan Pollard leaves a federal courthouse in New York

Israeli spy Jonathan Pollard leaves a federal courthouse in New York. (photo credit: AFP PHOTO)

 
X

Dear Reader,
As you can imagine, more people are reading The Jerusalem Post than ever before. Nevertheless, traditional business models are no longer sustainable and high-quality publications, like ours, are being forced to look for new ways to keep going. Unlike many other news organizations, we have not put up a paywall. We want to keep our journalism open and accessible and be able to keep providing you with news and analyses from the frontlines of Israel, the Middle East and the Jewish World.

As one of our loyal readers, we ask you to be our partner.

For $5 a month you will receive access to the following:

  • A user experience almost completely free of ads
  • Access to our Premium Section
  • Content from the award-winning Jerusalem Report and our monthly magazine to learn Hebrew - Ivrit
  • A brand new ePaper featuring the daily newspaper as it appears in print in Israel

Help us grow and continue telling Israel’s story to the world.

Thank you,

Ronit Hasin-Hochman, CEO, Jerusalem Post Group
Yaakov Katz, Editor-in-Chief

UPGRADE YOUR JPOST EXPERIENCE FOR 5$ PER MONTH Show me later Don't show it again

Shimon Peres cannot be faulted for failure to get an early release for Israeli spy Jonathan Pollard, the head of the Pollard Caucus in the Knesset, Zionist Union MK Nachman Shai, said on Thursday.

Peres was prime minister at the time of Pollard’s 1985 arrest. He was aware that Pollard was operating in the US, but when the FBI decided to make an arrest, Peres did not alert staff at the Israeli Embassy in Washington to ensure he would be let in. However, he did give documents to the US with Pollard’s fingerprints that incriminated him.

Be the first to know - Join our Facebook page.


In what was seen at the time as an effort to remove a lingering stain on his career, Peres met with US President Barack Obama in Washington in June 2014, six days before Pollard had a parole hearing. Peres vowed to the people of Israel to take action for Pollard ahead of the hearing, and there were hopes he could persuade Obama to commute Pollard’s sentence to time served, enabling him to move to Israel.

“The entire nation is interested in releasing Pollard, and I am the emissary of the nation,” Peres told reporters after the meeting. “I don’t think of myself as Shimon. I am the representative of the State of Israel, and I speak in the name of its people.”

After the meeting failed to result in an early release, Peres vowed to “continue to work for Pollard’s release after I finish my term.”

In November 2015, Pollard was paroled for technical reasons after serving 30 years of a life sentence, but his life sentence continues on parole.

“Peres didn’t betray him,” said Shai, who met with Peres before he went to Washington. “He made a genuine effort to get Pollard set free when he went to Obama.”



Pollard and the campaign to bring about his release chose not to release any statement about Peres. They also declined to respond to comments made on Army Radio Thursday by Pollard’s former handler, Eitan.

“I decided to take full responsibility for the Pollard episode despite what Peres said and chose not to say,” Eitan said.

Related Content

August 16, 2018
Israeli F-16s: a possible upgrade to the Bulgarian Air Force

By ANNA AHRONHEIM