Skip To Content
JEWISH. INDEPENDENT. NONPROFIT.

Support the Forward

Funded by readers like you DonateSubscribe
Breaking News

Jonathan Pollard Rejected Plan To Flee

An escape plan was put in place for convicted spy-for-Israel Jonathan Pollard but he circumvented it and sought asylum at Israel’s embassy in Washington, his former handler said.

“I got the call that he is waiting at the entrance of the embassy … and I immediately said ‘throw him out.’ I don’t regret it,” former Mossad handler Rafi Eitan said. “The minute the man decided to come to the embassy …. he decided for himself that he is going to prison.”

Eitan, 88, for the first time gave details of his work with Pollard, a former U.S. Navy analyst who was sentenced to life in prison in the United States in 1987, during an interview on the Israel Channel 2 news magazine “Uvda,” which means Fact.

He said he believed that if Israel had given Pollard asylum it would have even more severely damaged its relations with the United States.

Eitan said during the interview that he was not a rogue agent, as he has frequently been depicted, but that both prime ministers Yitzhak Rabin and Shimon Peres were aware of his work with Pollard. He said he took responsibility for the Pollard debacle in order to allow the Israel-U.S. relationship to move forward.

It was recently reported that Pollard was turned down in August for his first parole request. Though he has been eligible to apply for parole for the last 19 years he reportedly has refrained from doing so because he is seeking a presidential commutation, which would release him unconditionally.

The parole commission said it would review Pollard’s case again next year.

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.