U.S. rejects Netanyahu's request to allow Pollard to immigrate to Israel

“Pollard has not concealed that he wishes to live in Israel.”

Jonathan and Esther Pollard (photo credit: Courtesy)
Jonathan and Esther Pollard
(photo credit: Courtesy)
The US Department of Justice rejected Prime Minister Netanyahu's recent request to allow American Israeli spy Jonathan Pollard to return to Israel and to serve the rest of his sentence here.
As the reason for the refusal of Netanyahu's request the Department of Justice named the severity of the acts and offenses committed by Pollard in the 1980s.
The decision came almost exactly three years after Pollard was released from the federal prison in Butner, North Carolina, after serving 30 years of a life sentence behind bars for conspiracy to commit espionage.
Pollard was released on “mandatory” parole on November 20, 2015 after serving exactly 30 years in prison for the crime of conspiracy to commit espionage without intent to harm the United States, by delivering classified information to Israel in 1984 and 1985.
But his parole conditions requires him to be monitored by a GPS device that forces him to violate Shabbat and Jewish holidays and his computers to be monitored, which his lawyers say has prevented him from being employed.
The commission justified the GPS monitoring by citing a letter written by New York Democratic Congressmen Jerrold Nadler and Eliot Engel to Attorney- General Loretta Lynch, asking that Pollard be allowed to move to Israel.
Pollard’s lawyers responded that “the commission’s distorted reliance on the Nadler/Engel Letter is proof of how vindictive and biased this proceeding has become toward Mr. Pollard.”
They wrote that it was “grossly unfair and unconstitutionally retaliatory” to suggest that because congressmen wrote that Pollard would want to move to Israel in a lawful manner, he might unlawfully violate the terms of his release.
“Pollard has not concealed that he wishes to live in Israel,” they wrote. “He stated it expressly to the Commission on remand. But, this in no way implies that he would risk his freedom in order to do so.”
Gil Hoffman contributed to this report.