Former senior Mossad man and government minister Rafi Eitan, who was Jonathan Pollard's handler, is admitting for the first time that he ordered to turn away Jonathan and his then wife Anne from the Israeli Embassy in Washington, when they came to seek refuge on the morning of November 21, 1985.
Jonathan and Anne were turned away from the Embassy by the security guards and were arrested by FBI agents who swarmed the compound. Anne was sentenced to five years in prison for possession of classified information and Pollard himself was convicted of spying and sentenced to life imprisonment.
Eitan’s admission comes in an interview to the "Uvda" program, hosted by journalist Ilana Dayan, which will air Monday on Channel 2. The following are excerpts from the interview released on Sunday:
You received a phone call in real time that Pollard and his wife are here at the gate, what to do?
Rafi Eitan: Yes. I got the news that he was standing at the embassy.
What do you say to yourself?
I immediately say, 'Throw him out'. I have no regrets.
When I'm in a battle, and it’s life or death, I have to decide yes or no. I decide according to what is required at that moment. I make a decision based on the interests of the State of Israel, you cannot let any other thought interfere with the decision the moment you make it, had I not done it the situation would have been much worse.
In the interview, Eitan says that he knew about Pollard’s impending arrest three days before the arrest. That very night he goes, according to his testimony, to Prime Minister Shimon Peres and Defense Minister Yitzhak Rabin, and tells them that the arrest is about to happen. He says the prime minister and defense minister were aware even before this incident that Israel operates agents in the United States military.
You know that part of their action plan would be to also sacrifice you?
I suggest ahead of time that they sacrifice me, I say at the outset, I take all the responsibility, I gave the order, only I gave the order, no one authorized me to do so. Just me. No one gave me an order, I initiated it all alone. I am responsible, I tell them in advance.
But there was an incident here, it still exists, is affects the relations between Israel and the United States.
True, but nobody asked who is responsible. Everyone knew who was in charge, who initiated, who did what - only I am responsible.
Now you can tell us, Rabin is no longer with us, Shimon Peres, he has already finished his last public position, do the prime minister and defense minister know that Israel has American agents inside the U.S. Army?
I do not want to answer that, because as soon as I answer this, there will be headlines in the newspapers.
From your answer I can understand.
You can understand.
Obviously...I never lied to my government.