Jonathan Pollard, a former U.S. Navy intelligence officer convicted of spying for Israel, exits following a hearing at the Manhattan Federal Courthouse in New York City, May 17, 2017.
(photo credit: BRENDAN MCDERMID/REUTERS)
“I feel abandoned,” Jonathan Pollard has told close friends this week, after he saw pictures of the posters of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and US President Donald Trump go up on billboards across the country.
What happened Tuesday morning made the former Israeli spy – who spent 30 years in maximum-security prison – even more upset. It was when Trump shared an Instagram post by Netanyahu showing the poster of the two leaders over the Ayalon Freeway in Tel Aviv.
If the relationship is as good between Netanyahu and Trump as the posters suggest, he told friends, then they are also proof that more can be done to secure American approval for him to board a plane and fly to Israel.
Pollard was paroled from prison in November 2015 after serving 30 years of a life sentence for spying for Israel. His parole conditions, though, prevent him from leaving New York State and moving to, or even visiting, Israel.
Pollard used harsh language when speaking with his friends, arguing that he has been abandoned by the State of Israel in general, and Netanyahu in particular.
“The only difference between me and the two soldiers being held in the Gaza Strip is that they are dead and I am alive,” he told his friends. “We have all been abandoned.”
Pollard said that he recognized the diplomatic sensitivity surrounding his request to emigrate to Israel. But, he told friends, he was fed up being told for 30 years that “there is always something more important.”
“I understand that the Iran deal was important and that Jerusalem was important, but if the relationship is so good then now is the time,” he told them.
Pollard and his wife, Esther, are suffering from poor health and have dealt with significant medical challenges over the past year. The couple do not receive any official assistance from the State of Israel and due to his parole restrictions, Pollard has faced challenged to find gainful employment.
His parole conditions, for example, require him to be monitored by a GPS device and for his computers to be monitored
, which his lawyers say has prevented him from being employed.
“If there is any seriousness to the desire of the prime minister to bring me home, then what is he waiting for?” Pollard asked his friends.
Traditionally, Netanyahu has claimed that he brings up Pollard during all of his meetings with US presidents. Pollard told friends that he was hopeful that the prime minister would use his visit to Washington, DC, in March to finally secure his release.