Attorney General Says It's Time For US To Free Pollard

May 26, 1997 - Batsheva Tsur - The Jerusalem Post

JERUSALEM - The time has come for Jonathan Pollard, serving a life sentence in the US for spying for Israel, to be released, Attorney-General Elyakim Rubinstein said yesterday.

"I think it is time to release him. He has already been in prison for 12 years," Rubinstein said in an interview with Halishka, the journal of the Jerusalem branch of the Israel Bar Association. "It is a very long time, especially in view of the fact that he spent some of this time in solitary confinement."

Rubinstein, who was minister at the Israeli Embassy and was in the building when Jonathan and Anne Pollard requested asylum in November 1983, said the world had changed a great deal since then.

"The American intelligence community should view this issue in that light," he said, noting that President Bill Clinton accepted their view. "The feeling is that he received a very harsh sentence. Members of the American judicial system have spoken of shorter sentences," Rubinstein added.

Until two years ago, Rubinstein said, he had personally been involved in the ongoing efforts to release Pollard and that the issue had been brought up by prime ministers Yitzhak Rabin, Yitzhak Shamir, Shimon Peres, and Binyamin Netanyahu as well as presidents Chaim Herzog and Ezer Weizman. Rubinstein reiterated that he had not had a hand in the decision to turn the Pollards away from the embassy.

Rubinstein said that in the past, he had been approached by Pollard's father and sister to assist him. Since the matter is currently before the High Court of Justice, Rubinstein said, he could not comment further.

  • See also Pollard's Attorney Responds to A-G Rubinstein's Remarks