Ex-Spy Jonathan Pollard Lands in Israel 35 Years After Arrest

spy returns
Courtesy Justice for Jonathan Pollard

Jonathan Pollard, the former U.S. Navy analyst who was convicted of spying for Israel, arrived in Israel early Wednesday morning, 35 years after his arrest.

Pollard, 66, arrived in Israel with his wife, Esther on a private plane belonging to American tycoon Sheldon Adelson, fulfilling a lifelong dream to immigrate to the Jewish state, which granted him citizenship in 1995.

He kissed the ground on his arrival before being greeted by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who recited Jewish blessings for the freeing of prisoners.

“Now you can begin your lives anew in freedom and happiness,” Netanyahu said. “Now you are home.”

In response, Pollard said: “We are ecstatic to be home at last. There is no one who is more proud of this country or its leader than we are. We hope to become productive citizens as soon as possible.”

“No one could be prouder of this country or its leader than we are,” he said. “We hope to become productive citizens as soon as possible and to get on with our lives here. It is a wonderful country with a tremendous future. It is the future of the Jewish people, and we are not going anywhere.”

The Pollards’ arrival in Israel comes weeks after Jonathan’s parole ended and was timed to coincide rounds of chemotherapy treatments that Esther is undergoing for breast cancer.

He was convicted in 1985 for providing classified information to Israel, and served 30 years of a life sentence before receiving parole in 2015 with unusually severe restrictions.

Jonathan Pollard remains the only American in U.S. history to receive a life sentence for spying for an ally, and is the only one to serve more than 10 years.

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