Trump mulling allowing Jonathan Pollard to come to Israel
Transportation Minister Katz brings up Pollard matter at NY conference, appeals to President Trump to allow spy to make Aliyah to Israel and celebrate opening of new US Embassy in Jerusalem; Trump may announce removal of Pollard's restrictions near embassy opening date, Israeli officials say.
US President Donald Trump is examining an Israeli request to pardon spy Jonathan Pollard in honor of Israel's 70th Independence Day and allow him to make aliyah to Israel.
There was even a chance, senior Israeli officials said, of the president announcing his decision to remove restrictions levied on Pollard near the date of the inauguration of the new US Embassy in Jerusalem on May 14.
Transportation and Intelligence Minister Yisrael Katz, who was privy to the White House's deliberations on the matter, broached the issue in his speech at the Jerusalem Post's New York conference Sunday, saying, "Thanks to President Trump's brave and just decision, we will be celebrating the embassy move in the coming days."
"In order to make the celebration even greater, I appeal to our friend the president to allow Jonathan Pollard to come to Israel to celebrate with us in Jerusalem," Katz added.
Pollard was released from US prison in November 2015, after three decades behind bars. Two and a half years hence, the spy is still under numerous restrictions, and he is not allowed to fly to Israel to realize his dream of making Aliyah and settling down in Jerusalem.
Pollard has also been barred from giving interviews, and he has been forced to wear an ankle bracelet that monitors his movements. Moreover, Pollard must return home in the early evening every day, and in general his movements are restricted to a certain area in New York. In addition, all of his home and work computers are monitored.
His appeals to have these restrictions removed have been repeatedly rejected.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu brought up Pollard's case in all of his meetings with President Trump, and the belated Independence Day celebrations coupled with the opening of the new embassy may serve as the proper time for the US to bring to an end Pollard's saga.