Jonathan Pollard feels ‘abandoned’ by Netanyahu

The former spy is reportedly angered by Netanyahu’s campaign poster with Trump, claims the prime minister is not helping him move to Israel.

By Batya Jerenberg, World Israel News

Jonathan Pollard has told friends that he feels “abandoned” by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, The Jerusalem Post reported Wednesday.

The former American-Israeli spy said he feels hurt after seeing pictures of Likud campaign posters placed throughout the country showing Netanyahu with President Trump, with both smiling widely, the report says. If their friendship is so strong, he wonders, why is he still stuck in New York, prevented from moving to Israel after languishing 30 years in a maximum-security prison?

“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, according to the report. “We have all been abandoned.”

“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 added.

Both Pollard and his wife Esther are in poor health. He cannot find work due to his parole restrictions and receives no official Israeli aid; their lifestyle is very modest. He must wear a GPS device be home by early evening, and any computer he uses is watched by the authorities.

Netanyahu reportedly requested Pollard’s release in October 2017, after Israel made several goodwill gestures to the Palestinians. Last April, Israeli officials said that Trump was “seriously considering” letting Pollard go, possibly as part of the larger gesture of moving the U.S. Embassy to Jerusalem in May. Nothing happened then, and a formal Israeli request to the Justice Department was also rejected later in the year.

In 1987, the former intelligence analyst was convicted in a plea agreement of passing Israel critical classified information that the American government had been withholding from its ally. The court then rejected the agreement and gave Pollard a life sentence — the only American to have received such a harsh punishment for giving over secret information to a U.S. ally.

Several attempts were made throughout the years for his release, including by the Israeli government. He was freed in November 2015, in accordance with the guidelines set at his sentencing, including restrictive conditions that do not allow him to even visit Israel, let alone move there.

The Prime Minister’s Office claims that Netanyahu brings Pollard up in almost every meeting he has with American officials.