Lawyers for Jonathan Pollard, who spent 30 years in prison for spying for Israel in the 1980s while working as a civilian contactor at U.S. Naval Intelligence, announced Friday that the U.S. Department of Justice has not extended his parole restrictions, meaning he can, if he so wishes, leave the country and move to Israel.
Pollard was paroled from an American jail in November 2015, and has since been under restrictive release conditions, including wearing an electronic monitor and remaining at his home in New York at night.
He was also banned from leaving New York State and giving media interviews, and authorities monitored his computer at home and at work.
One of Pollard's lawyers, Eliot Lauer, told Ynet on Friday that Pollard's most pressing concern was the welfare of his wife, Esther, who is undergoing caner treatment.
"I know many people are waiting for Pollard in Israel, but the first thing he needs to do is take care of his wife," Lauer said. "I do not know what their immediate plans are other than to make sure Esther is okay, but obviously Jonathan is expecting to go to Israel.
"This is the first day in the last 34 years that he is truly a free man. He always saw himself as a true Zionist and a citizen of Israel."
Lauer would not comment on whether U.S. President Donald Trump had been involved in lifting Pollard's parole, but said: "I believe many people deserve thanks. I would not say there was any political influence. We appreciate the support of the administration but the decision to end Pollard's parole was made in accordance with the law and the efforts of my colleagues and myself.
"We appreciate the assistance of both the U.S. and Israeli governments over the years and thank all those who supported and prayed for Pollard and sent him letters. They deserve credit."
Jewish American groups had appealed to the Trump administration 18 months ago requesting Pollard's parole be lifted so that he could care for his wife.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has also raised the subject with successive American presidents on numerous occasions, including Trump.
There was no announcement from the White House about Pollard's parole by Friday night and the news was revealed by his attorneys.