The fridge is empty, the electricity turned off and the landlord has been waiting for his rent money for weeks. Ann Pollard, 51, the former wife of convicted spy Jonathan Pollard, was flown to Israel by the government in December 2010, after being reduced to poverty. Things do not appear to have improved, however.
Pollard says she spends the better part of her day walking around outside, claiming she has a hard time sleeping because instead of a proper bed to rest her head on – she sleeps on the sofa. She has no money to buy a couch.
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She now lives in a 30 square meter (approx. 322 square feet) apartment at the corner of Nordau and Dizengoff in Tel Aviv. The cost: NIS 4,600 per month (approx. $1,296).
According to Pollard, the State provides her with NIS 4,500 per month (approx. $1,268). It's not a small amount by any means, but Pollard is still not satisfied, complaining she lacks enough money to lead a proper life.
Pollard spends most of her days alone, with a cat as her only companion. She walks the streets as though she were a somnambulist, starving, she claims.
"I have no money left," she says, claiming Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu promised to care for her when she arrived in Israel over nine months ago. But no one even honors her immigrant ID card, she claims.
Before the Pollard affair became public, Ann worked in public relations in Washington. Since her release from prison her health has deteriorated making it impossible for her to hold down a full time job. Even her attempts to open her own business were unsuccessful as she lacks the required capital to start up.
After contacting the Israel consul in New York in August 2010 to inform officials about her medical and financial condition, Ann disappeared. Israeli representatives reported they were unable to reach her via phone. When they finally visited her apartment, officials found Pollard in poor health with her elderly father beside her.
Pollard, however, tells a different story. She claims that even before contacting the consul she tried to reach out for help through the Israeli embassy, but was "thrown out on the street." Pollard insists that she was brought to Israel only after Netanyahu intervened, but states that she has not been looked after since.
Ann Pollard was arrested in 1986 together with her estranged husband Jonathan, and was charged with espionage. She was sentenced to five years in prison. Upon her release she made aliyah but returned to the US several years later. She claims her medical problems began in jail. "I keep begging to the welfare authorities but the State humiliates me," she says.
Her bank account may be closed soon as she has overdrawn almost NIS 10,000.
Referring to her relationship with her estranged husband she says she has never been granted an official divorce and is unable to reach him on the phone.
'Refused to live with father'
The Prime Minister's Office said in response: "Ann and her father are both receiving care from the absorption and welfare services ever since the government rushed to help them this past December, and made sure to bring them to Israel immediately.
"Ever since their arrival, Ann and her father have been given some NIS 15,000 (approx. $4,227) per month. Despite the fact that the two have a furnished apartment in Ramat Gan, which is being paid for in its entirety, Ann has refused to live with her father, opting to reside in the center of Tel Aviv.
"During the course of the first few months in Israel, Ann received a monthly stipend of NIS 6,000 (approx. $1,690) and at the same time her various debts amounting to more than NIS 20,000 were also covered, as well as medical care and welfare services. Recently the monthly stipend has increased to NIS 10,000 – covering the rent payments, bills and living costs. Her father, meanwhile, is also receiving an additional NIS 5,000 for his needs."
A number of businessmen have decided to help Pollard by donating money to cover her debts and have her electricity turned back on. In return Ann thanked them for their help, but concluded it was a shame she had been reduced to begging for money in order to make through another month.
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