Jonathan Pollard landed in Israel on Tuesday night, some 35 years after being arrested in the United States and serving 30 years in prison for spying for and providing top-secret classified information to Israel.
The Pollards arrived in Israel on a direct private flight from Liberty Airport in Newark, New Jersey, to Ben Gurion Airport.
The Israel Hayom newspaper reported that prior to landing, Pollard was invited by the pilots into the cockpit, where he listened to the Ben Gurion Airport control tower, which greeted him in Hebrew on the occasion of his arrival in Israel.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, early this morning , welcomed the Pollards upon their arrival in Israel. The Prime Minister was moved to meet them on the tarmac next to the plane where they recited the Shehecheyanu blessing together.
Prime Minister Netanyahu gave Jonathan Pollard an Israeli identity card. The Prime Minister told the Pollards that it is good that they have come home where they will be able to start a new life, in freedom and happiness.
Jonathan Pollard said: "We are ecstatic to be home at last after 35 years and we thank the people and the Prime Minister of Israel for bringing us home. No one could be prouder of this country or this leader than we are and we hope to become productive citizens as soon and as quickly as possible and to get on with our lives here. This is a wonderful country. It has a tremendous future. It is the future of the Jewish people and we’re not going anywhere."
Diaspora Affairs Minister Omer Yankelevitch welcomed Pollard to Israel.
"Jonathan, how good it is that you came home," she tweeted.
Pollard’s arrival in Israel comes a month after the US Parole Commission issued a certificate terminating parole and the restrictions that were imposed on him, making him free to travel anywhere, including Israel.
When Pollard was released from prison in 2015 after serving 30 years of his life sentence for transmitting classified information to Israel, his parole commission imposed strict parole guidelines for a period of five years.
As part of those restrictions, Pollard was not allowed to leave his home between 7:00 p.m. and 7:00 a.m., was monitored by a GPS device and was not permitted to leave the US. That five-year period ended in November.
It had been widely speculated that Pollard will move to Israel once the restrictions are lifted. His attorney, Eliot Lauer, told Arutz Sheva last month that Pollard and his wife “have every expectation to make Aliyah and move to Israel. Because of Esther’s medical condition, they first need to get approval from the medical advisers in New York and make sure that she’s medically capable of making the trip and that suitable arrangements will be made in Israel to continue her progress. Once that is done, I think it’s just a question of logistics, packing up and getting on a plane.”