Bennett Promises to 'Bring Pollard Home'

Jewish Home chair emphasizes Pollard's potential release unrelated to Iran deal, says Israel doing everything right for his return.

Ido Ben Porat ,

Jewish Home chairman Naftali Bennett
Jewish Home chairman Naftali Bennett
Ben Kelmer/Flash 90

Education Minister Naftali Bennett (Jewish Home) suggested on Sunday that the potential release of jailed spy Jonathan Pollard has no connection to Israeli anger over the Iranian nuclear deal. 

"It seems to me that today there is a critical mass of security experts and former defense ministers saying it's time he got out of jail," Bennett told Army Radio. "I just hope they'll let the parole board do its job without special interference, but I'm not a prophet."

A US-born Israeli, Pollard was arrested in 1985 and two years later was sentenced to life in prison for passing American intelligence on Arab and Pakistani weapons to the Jewish state.

Pollard becomes eligible for parole in November, and the US Justice Department indicated on Thursday that it would not oppose his release.

According to Bennett, Israel is acting "in the most correct way to finally get a proper result. If we need to take certain actions, we will, but we have no interest in arousing antagonism," he added. 

"We need to let the process realize itself, this is a very said and painful story," Bennett stressed before promising to "utilize all the possibilities to bring him [Pollard] home."

The Education Minister's remarks back up Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked, also of the Jewish Home party, who sought Saturday to quell speculation that Pollard's possible release was a US gesture to ease Israeli anger over the Iran nuclear deal.  

"There is no political or diplomatic involvement here," Shaked told Israel's Channel 2. "It is an American legal procedure: the parole commission needs to approve his release from prison after 30 years," she said.