The US Justice Department on Friday declined to extend the parole of Jonathan Pollard, who was convicted of spying on America for Israel, and the 66-year-old is now free to travel to the Jewish state, Jerusalem Post reported.
Pollard responded to the news by telling reporters he was glad to be able to move to Israel where he will be able to care for his wife who is sick with cancer. He also expressed “appreciation and gratitude” to Israel’s Ambassador to the US Ron Dermer for his help in bringing about the end to his parole.
Pollard, who served 30 years in prison for providing sensitive intelligence to Israel, made a public appeal to Netanyahu last year and asked him to intervene on his behalf to urge Trump to commute his parole, so he could care for his sick wife.
Given the high profile nature of Pollard’s case, it is likely that the Justice Department’s decision required an okay from government higher-ups. In setting the ex-spy free, the Trump administration bestowed yet another gift to Israel, which has lobbied for years for Pollard to be allowed to move to the Jewish state.
Pollard’s attorneys Jacques Semmelman and Eliot Lauer issued the following statement saying the US Parole Commission had notified their client of the termination of the parole that had lasted for five years:
The U.S. Parole Commission has issued a certificate terminating parole and lifting all parole restrictions on our pro bono client Jonathan J. Pollard. Specifically, Mr. Pollard is no longer subject to a curfew, is no longer prohibited from working for a company that does not have U.S. government monitoring software on its computer systems, is no longer required to wear a wrist monitor that tracks his whereabouts, and is free to travel anywhere, including Israel, for temporary or permanent residence, as he wishes.
During the past five years, since his release on parole from federal prison, Mr. Pollard has been subject to these U.S. government restrictions. We are grateful and delighted that our client is finally free of any restrictions, and is now a free man in all respects. We look forward to seeing our client in Israel.
Mr. Pollard was released on parole November 21, 2015. He had been in prison since November 21, 1985, serving a sentence of life in prison for conspiracy to deliver classified information to the State of Israel.
Over the past several months, we have communicated with the U.S. Department of Justice and the U.S. Parole Commission, emphasizing that Mr. Pollard has had an exemplary record, both as a prisoner and as a parolee, and that there is every reason for confidence that he will be a model citizen after his parole restrictions are lifted.
Mr. Pollard has asked us to communicate the following on his behalf:
• Mr. Pollard is happy to finally be able to assist his beloved wife Esther, who is fighting an aggressive form of cancer. Mr. Pollard would like people to know that it was his wife, more than anyone else, who kept him alive during all the years he was in prison.
• Mr. Pollard is deeply grateful to his longstanding pro bono lawyers Eliot Lauer and Jacques Semmelman, and their law firm Curtis, Mallet-Prevost, Colt & Mosle LLP, who have stood by him for so many years, and whose perseverance, creativity, and forceful advocacy were instrumental in securing his release from prison on parole, and the lifting of the parole restrictions.
• Mr. Pollard is also extremely thankful to Rabbi Pesach Lerner, who has worked tirelessly for many years on Mr. Pollard’s behalf, and to the generous contributors who have assisted financially during the past five years, as the U.S. government placed insurmountable impediments on Mr. Pollard’s ability to earn a living.
• Mr. Pollard expresses appreciation and gratitude to Ambassador Ron Dermer, acting under the auspices of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, for their efforts on his behalf.
• Mr. Pollard thanks Dov Friedberg for his longstanding support and friendship; Israeli attorneys Larry Dub and Nitsana Dirshan-Leitner for their devoted pro bono representation over many years; and Adi Ginsberg, Rabbi Asher Mivtzari, and all the volunteers under their direction for their unrelenting work in Israel on Mr. Pollard’s behalf.
• Mr. Pollard expresses his deepest respect and heartfelt thanks to the late Chief Rabbi, His Honor Rav Mordechai Eliyahu zt”l, and to his entire family, as well as to his Chief of Staff Rav Chaim Suissa, for providing spiritual guidance and strength to Jonathan and Esther Pollard from the outset of the case, and whose friendship remains strong and vibrant.
• Mr. Pollard is deeply grateful to so many others in the U.S., Israel, and around the world who have helped devotedly. They are too numerous to mention by name, but they include: Andrew Brooke, Goldi Steiner, Risha Balter and Nomi Winkler of Toronto; Bella Amiram and Naomi Knobel of Jerusalem; and in the U.S., the late Chaim Stern, attorneys Kenneth Lasson and Gary Apfel, and the late Judge George Leighton. Finally, Mr. Pollard thanks all people of good will who have kept him in their prayers and hoped for this day.