Last week, the pro-settler Israeli-based Arutz 7 News Service reported that Jerusalem was seeking to secure a furlough for convicted spy Jonathan Pollard so that he could visit his dying mother-in-law. There was just one problem: Pollard’s mother-in-law had died July 18, two weeks earlier.
Pollard, now serving a life sentence in a federal prison for passing American secrets on to Israel, is accusing the Israeli government of “trampling the grave of my mother-in-law” and Foreign Minister Silvan Shalom of “exploiting the death of my mother-in-law for his own personal gain,” as reported in Ma’ariv.
The former U.S. Navy analyst and his supporters have complained repeatedly over the years that Israel has failed to press for his release.
According to Justice4JP, a pro-Pollard advocacy group, requests to Shalom for help in securing a furlough for Pollard to visit his mother-in-law, and later to attend her funeral and shiva in Montreal, went ignored.
But David Siegel, an Israeli spokesman at the Israeli Embassy in Washington, told the Forward that “senior Israeli officials made official requests through relevant channels in a timely fashion.”
In response to such Israeli claims, Pollard’s wife, Esther, issued a statement saying that “nothing could be further from the truth.” She accused the Foreign Ministry of deceiving the public in order to save face. “The only process undertaken by the Foreign Ministry was stalling for time and doing nothing,” she said.
In her statement, Esther Pollard said that her husband was “shocked and dismayed” by the Arutz 7 report. She claims that he personally called the Israeli Consulate in Atlanta, near the prison where he is being held, to inform the Foreign Ministry that her mother had died.