Obama 'weighing' allowing Pollard to leave

Under pressure from Netanyahu, Obama considers allowing convicted spy to move to Israel; Bennett says Israel must do all it can.

Yaakov Levi , | updated: 11:16

Poster to free Pollard
Poster to free Pollard
Flash 90

With Jonathan Pollard's release imminent, Israel has been pushing to persuade US President Barack Obama to allow him to leave the country and move to Israel.

So far, Obama has not agreed to this, a report on Army Radio said Thursday, but after Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu brought the issue up with Obama last week, the president is said to be “weighing the matter."

Education Minister Naftali Bennett, meanwhile, told Army Radio that Israel needed to do all it could to bring Pollard home.

“Pollard was an agent of the State of Israel, for better or worse. He acted not on his own behalf, but for the Jewish people, and the security of the state of Israel. He deserves any honor we can give him.”

The question of what will happen to Pollard after he is released has been on the mind of Israelis and American Jews for months.

Speaking on Channel 10 earlier this week, Pollard's former wife Anne said that being released from prison would be like a “Back to the Future” adventure for him.

“I feel as if I have been waiting my entire life for this moment,” she said. “I truly hope that Obama will grant him clemency” and allow him to move to Israel, despite the fact that he will be on parole and is not allowed to leave the US. 

Last week, Congressman Jerrold Nadler (NY-10) and Eliot Engel (NY-16),appealed directly to US Attorney General Loretta E. Lynch to consider Jonathan Pollard's "expressed desire to reunite with his family in Israel following his 30 year prison sentence."

"Pollard understands that, as a condition of being permitted to move to Israel, he may need to renounce his American citizenship," the Congressman wrote. "Despite the serious consequences that may follow such a decision, including being permanently barred from returning to the United States, he is willing to undertake this extraordinary measure."



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