Visiting Hours - Washington Whispers

April 1, 1996 - U.S News & World Report

Reflecting increased pressure on the White House over the controversial case, Jonathan Pollard, convicted of spying for Israel, is expected to receive his first visit from an official of the Jerusalem government since his arrest 11 years ago. Eitan Surkis-Almog, the Israeli consul general in Atlanta, plans to meet Pollard and his wife, Esther, at the North Carolina federal prison where the former U.S. Navy intelligence analyst is serving a life sentence for passing American security secrets to Israel.

At the time of his arrest, an embarrassed Israel disowned Pollard, claiming the espionage, which mainly involved information about Iraq and other Arab nations, was the work of "rogue agents." Recently, however, the government of Prime Minister Shimon Peres granted Pollard's request for Israeli citizenship, largely because of growing public pressure in Israel and the United States.

President Clinton, who turned down an appeal for clemency for Pollard in 1994, is considering another request to free the 41-year-old spy, who makes no secret of his hopes to emigrate to Israel. Pollard was visited last month by Rep. Benjmain Gitman, chairman of the House International Relations Committee.