Jerusalem (AsiaNews) - Jonathan Pollard, a US Navy analyst convicted of spying for Israel, will be released on November 21 after 30 years in prison. He had been sentenced to life prison but will be released on parole and will have to stay in the US for five years.
The White House denied that the release of Pollard - requested for years by Israel – has some political reasons (given the tension between Washington and Israel on the agreement with Iran). But in Israel Benjamin Netanyahu showed extreme happiness. And he said that "we look forward to seeing Jonathan Pollard leave prison."
Pollard, 60, was born to Jewish parents in Texas, he is the only one in US history to be convicted of spying for allies and is also the only American citizen to be convicted of a similar crime to a term longer than 10 years .
The US government has accused him of transferring volumes of sensitive information to Israel, including blocking techniques of radar signals and electronic capabilities of other allied countries, such as Saudi Arabia. Many in the US condemn him for selling state secrets for money. But many in Israel and among American Jews, think he has had too heavy a penalty, as he was "spying for allied countries".
Accused of espionage in 1985, he sought asylum in the Israeli Embassy, but was refused, and delivered to the US authorities. On the other hand, in 1996 Tel Aviv granted him the Israeli citizenship and two years later admitted that Pollard was spying for Israel.
Since then, all Israeli prime ministers visiting Washington have championed his cause. Sometimes US officials have played the card of his release as a "bargaining chip" to push Israel in dealing with Palestinians.