National Security

Israeli Spy Pollard Arrives in Israel

This was an American gift to Netanyahu.

Image Credit: Youtube Screenshot

For a person who grew up Jewish, yet was a member of US Army Intelligence in the 80s, the Pollard case is a judgment call. But it all worked out in the end, I guess.

Jonathan Pollard betrayed the United States. He gave sensitive secrets to a foreign power. Granted, it was and is a friendly power. In fact, a close ally. But no two nations have the exact same national interests. Pollard, while masquerading as a member of the American Intelligence Community, chose Israeli interests over US interests. Thus he is a spy and rightly could have been shot. However, it’s always nice to do a favor for a friend. Granted, Pollard was no longer a threat to American national security. So, perhaps given the larger picture, his release was acceptable. But it still leaves a bad taste in the mouth of anyone who ever wore an American uniform and that certainly includes this analyst. Pollard arrived in Israel on Wednesday.

FNC: “A former Navy intelligence analyst who spent 30 years behind bars for selling U.S. military secrets to Israel, arrived in Israel on Wednesday where he and his wife were granted citizenship by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. Jonathan Pollard, 66, triumphantly kissed the ground as he disembarked from the aircraft after it landed in Ben Gurion International airport near Tel Aviv. Pollard, a civilian intelligence analyst for the U.S. Navy, sold military secrets to Israel while working at the Pentagon in the 1980s. He was arrested in 1985 after trying unsuccessfully to gain asylum at the Israeli Embassy in Washington and pleaded guilty. The espionage affair embarrassed Israel and strained relations with the United States for years. Despite the damage he caused, Pollard was warmly embraced by Israel’s nationalist politicians. Israeli President Reuven Rivlin welcomed him in a tweet, and lawmakers from Netanyahu’s Likud party and its allies tweeted congratulations and greetings to the Pollards, who left from the airport for an undisclosed location. Pollard was given a life sentence and U.S. defense and intelligence officials consistently argued against his release. But after serving 30 years in federal prison, he was released on Nov. 20, 2015, and placed on a five-year parole period that ended in November. That cleared the way for him to leave the U.S.”

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“We are ecstatic to be home at last after 35 years,” Pollard said as he and his wife Esther were greeted in Israel by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. The Israeli leader presented them with Israeli ID cards, a mark of citizenship.

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“You’re home…What a moment. What a moment.” Pollard thanked Netanyahu, “We hope to become productive citizens as soon and as quickly as possible and to get on with our lives here,” he said. Not a word about the country he betrayed.

David Kamioner
meet the author

David Kamioner is a veteran of U.S. Army Intelligence and an honors graduate of the University of Maryland's European Division. He also served with the Pershing Nuclear Brigade and the First Infantry Division. Subsequent to that he worked for two decades as a political consultant, was part of the American Red Cross Hurricane Katrina disaster relief effort in Louisiana, ran a homeless shelter for veterans in Philadelphia, and taught as a college instructor. He serves as a Contributing Editor for LifeZette.

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