Skip To Content
JEWISH. INDEPENDENT. NONPROFIT.

Support the Forward

Funded by readers like you DonateSubscribe
News

Jonathan Pollard Freed After 30 Years in Prison for Spying

Israeli spy Jonathan Pollard was released on parole in the United States on Friday after 30 years in prison, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said, a case that became a serious strain in relations between the close allies.

“The people of Israel welcome the release of Jonathan Pollard,” Netanyahu said in a statement. “After three long and difficult decades, Jonathan has been reunited with his family.”

Under the terms of his parole, Pollard, a former U.S. Navy analyst, must remain in the United States for five years.

He was sentenced to life in prison after being convicted in 1987 of passing reams of classified information to Israel. Now 61, Pollard has said he wants to immigrate to Israel, where his second wife lives and where he can expect to receive substantial Israeli government back-pay.

He was granted Israeli citizenship while in prison.

“This is a dramatic moment … This is a historic moment that brings to an end a tremendous effort that spanned many years,” Effie Lahav, head of the committee in Israel that lobbied for Pollard’s release, said on Army Radio.

Netanyahu has instructed Israelis to stay low-key about Pollard’s release because of concern that too warm a celebration might damage efforts to persuade the U.S. government to let him leave for Israel sooner.

Successive U.S. administrations had resisted Israeli calls to show the unrepentant Pollard clemency, though Washington did, at times, mull an early release as part of its efforts to revive talks on Palestinian statehood in Israel-occupied territories.

Pollard’s legal team has called on U.S. President Barack Obama to allow him to go to Israel immediately after release from federal prison in North Carolina, while noting that he has a job and a place to live in the United States.

Engage

Republish This Story

Please read before republishing

We’re happy to make this story available to republish for free, unless it originated with JTA, Haaretz or another publication (as indicated on the article) and as long as you follow our guidelines. You must credit the Forward, retain our pixel and preserve our canonical link in Google search.  See our full guidelines for more information, and this guide for detail about canonical URLs.

To republish, copy the HTML by clicking on the yellow button to the right; it includes our tracking pixel, all paragraph styles and hyperlinks, the author byline and credit to the Forward. It does not include images; to avoid copyright violations, you must add them manually, following our guidelines. Please email us at [email protected], subject line “republish,” with any questions or to let us know what stories you’re picking up.

We don't support Internet Explorer

Please use Chrome, Safari, Firefox, or Edge to view this site.