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December 22, 2013 8:38 am

Netanyahu: Efforts to Release Pollard are Regardless of U.S. Spying Revelations

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A Hebrew sign in Israel calling for Jonathan Pollard's freedom. Photo: Wikimedia Commons.

Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu stressed on Sunday that the Jewish state doesn’t need to be prompted by specific events to work for the release of convicted spy Jonathan Pollard.

“We do not need any special event in order to discuss the release of Jonathan Pollard,” Netanyahu said at the start of his government’s weekly cabinet meeting. “We are dealing with it. I am dealing with it, with all U.S. presidents, including President Obama, all the time, including now.”

“We hope that the conditions will be created that will enable us to bring Jonathan home. This is neither conditional on, nor related to, recent events, even though we have given our opinion on these developments,” Netanyahu added.

The Prime Minister’s comments came in the wake of recent revelations of U.S. spying on Israel that have prompted Israeli leaders to repeat calls for Pollard’s release.

“The secret is out,” Transportation Minister Yisrael Katz said on Sunday, according to the Jerusalem Post. “The U.S. is systematically spying on the defense and diplomatic leadership here in Israel. Is this how friends treat each other?”

“Pollard was arrested for much less,” Katz said. “I plan on proposing in today’s cabinet meeting that Israel demand an American statement vowing to put an end to the surveillance and to immediately release Pollard in light of the most recent revelations.”

“If there ever was a time to bring Pollard home, it’s now,” Tourism Minister Uzi Landau told reporters.

Pollard, who worked as a U.S. civilian intelligence analyst, received a life sentence in 1987 for passing classified information to Israel.

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