Jonathan Pollard, a former U.S. Navy analyst who served 30 years in prison for spying for Israel, arrived in the country early on Wednesday after parole restrictions on his travel expired.
Pollard and his wife, Esther will remain in quarantine and will settle in Jerusalem in a furnished apartment prepared for them.
The couple arrived on a private jet that left the United States from New Jersey's Newark International Airport.
Minister of Diaspora Affairs Omer Yankelevich welcomed the two in a tweet in Hebrew saying; "How good it is that you are home," quoting from a popular Israeli song.
Pollard, 66, had long voiced a desire to emigrate to Israel, which granted him citizenship. The espionage affair strained U.S.-Israel relations for decades.
Sentenced in 1987 to life imprisonment after he pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit espionage, Pollard was freed on parole in 2015. A U.S. Justice Department decision last month to let the parole terms' five-year travel ban go unrenewed was seen by some as a parting gift to Israel by the Trump administration.
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.
One of Pollard's lawyers, Eliot Lauer, told Ynet at the time that the couple's most pressing concern was the welfare of his wife, Esther, who is undergoing cancer 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." Adding that the former spy always saw himself as a true Zionist and a citizen of Israel."
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu spoke to Pollard on the phone in November expressing the hope that the couple would travel to Israel.
"You should have now a comfortable life where you can pursue, both of you can pursue your interests," Netanyahu said.
First published: 07:04 , 12.30.20