South Bend Tribune Editorial

November 27, 1995

The decision by Israel to grant citizenship to Jonathan Pollard after having earlier turned him down is a positive step for the former South Bend resident and will hopefully improve his chance of being granted parole.

In a seemingly ungrateful decision earlier this year, the Israeli Interior Ministry turned down Pollard's request for citizenship, saying that Israel doesn't normally grant citizenship to Jews until they have immigrated to that country.

Pollard appealed to the Israeli Supreme Court, and, subsequently, Interior Minister Ehud Barak granted Pollard's request without a hearing.

Pollard, who has been in jail or prison since his arrest in 1985, is serving a sentence of life imprisonment after being convicted of spying for Israel while serving as a U.S. Navy intelligence analyst.

A parole hearing for Pollard that had been scheduled for this month has been deferred, possibly until next year, and Israeli officials are expected to soon renew their quest for support from President Clinton for Pollard's release.

Pollard, who disagreed with a State Department policy that denied Israel access to documents Pollard thought vital to Israeli safety, was wrong to take matters in his own hands and deliver those secrets to foreign agents.

However, the average sentence for persons convicted of spying on behalf of friendly nations has been 3 to 4 years imprisonment, not life. Pollard has been locked up for 10 years, which seems more than enough punishment.

Pollard should be granted parole. However, a condition of Pollard's parole should be his deportation to Israel.

That would seem to be a fair finale to the Pollard case, one that both Americans and Israelis could live with.