US Jew released from Cuban prison immigrates to Israel

Alan Gross, who spent years in a Cuban prison, immigrated to Israel together with his wife Judy.

In 2009, Alan Gross was imprisoned in Cuba based on allegations that he was acting against the Communist government there. He was released as part of a prisoner exchange approved by former President Barack Obama.

Alan and his wife Judy recently immigrated to Israel and now reside in Tel Aviv.

Gross was accused of undermining the Cuban regime by smuggling advanced technological equipment into the country. Gross, an American Jew, served five years of the 15-year term to which he was sentenced.

Gross says that a desire to change the political situation in Israel was one of the reasons he decided to make the move. “If Jews do not like what is happening in Israel, the solution is to immigrate to Israel and vote,” he explained.

In July 2015, the United States and Cuba restored diplomatic relations, which were suspended for more than half a century. Gross, who was released in the wake of these renewed US-Cuban relations, hails from Maryland and had worked in Cuba on internet infrastructure for a humanitarian organization.

Gross shared his difficult experience in Cuba on the television show “60 minutes.”

“They threatened to tear off my fingernails and hang me. I lost 50 kilograms and five teeth because of lack of nutrition.” He tried to stay fit by moving in circles in his cell, which was located inside a military hospital in the Cuban capital. Gross initiated a hunger strike in order to attract attention to his predicament in Cuba.

According to the JTA, Gross had visited Israel “at least 60 times” before moving to Israel. His daughter lives with her partner in Jerusalem. Another daughter resides in Oregon.

By: Daniel Krygier, World Israel News