Court to Barak: Why Was Pollard Denied Citizenship?

The Jerusalem Post: week ending November 4, 1995

The High Court of Justice last week gave Interior Minister Ehud Barak 30 days to explain why convicted spy Jonathan Pollard's request for Israeli citizenship was denied.

Pollard and his wife, Esther, petitioned the court last Sunday against the ministry's decision through their lawyers, Larry Dub and Mordechai Oferi.

In July, Pollard submitted the request to outgoing interior minister David Liba'i, arguing that Israel had in the past granted citizenship to Jews who were not physically present in the country, most notably Soviet prisoners of Zion.

In rejecting the request, Barak argued that the provision was meant to give citizenship to people whose country would not allow them to emigrate.

Pollard is serving a life term in the US for spying for Israel. He hopes that gaining Israeli citizenship will improve his chances of winning early release at a January parole hearing.

"This is a victory for Pollard," said Dub. "The court could have thrown out the case, but the fact that it took it upon itself to grant the show-cause order means it saw merit in our petition."

Prime Minister Yizhak Rabin has asked President Bill Clinton to pardon Pollard. However, Clinton said earlier this year he could not make a decision before Pollard's parole hearing.