PM Adviser Seeks 'Official Agent' Status For Pollard Release

April 2, 1998 - Batsheva Tsur - The Jerusalem Post

Shimon Stein, the legal adviser of the Prime Minister's Office, is working on a formula which would declare that convicted spy Jonathan Pollard was conscripted by people acting on behalf of Israel, although without the government's official blessing. The formula, which has received a nod from the defense establishment and State Attorney Edna Arbel, is expected to satisfy Pollard's request for recognition as an official agent for whom the government would take responsibility, a source told The Jerusalem Post.

Pollard's Jerusalem lawyer, Larry Dub, had been instructed by his client earlier to turn down a vaguer version of official recognition. At the first meeting yesterday of the ministerial committee for securing Pollard's release, Communications Minister Limor Livnat and Immigration and Absorption Minister Yuli Edelstein came out in favor of full recognition of Pollard as an Israeli agent. Recognition would help Pollard cover his lawyers' fees, and get monthly compensation and medical assistance while in prison. Finance Minister Yaakov Neeman reportedly told the cabinet last week, after meeting Pollard, that he was not in good health.

Channel 2 reported last night Pollard had sent an angry letter to the committee two weeks ago, complaining that Israel was not doing enough to help him. The report said as a result, Israel is trying to work out a plan to publicly acknowledge Pollard as a spy.

Cabinet Secretary Dan Naveh, the committee's coordinator, is expected to leave shortly for Washington to build up a lobby for Pollard on Capitol Hill. He is expected to take a letter co-signed by Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and Opposition leader Ehud Barak, calling on Jewish organizations to work on Pollard's behalf. The letter is expected to point out that Pollard has expressed remorse and deserves to be released on humanitarian grounds.

Naveh is expected to request that US Vice President Al Gore bring Pollard with him when he travels to Israel for jubilee celebrations at the end of the month. Alternately, he will ask for Pollard's release as a special gesture sometime during the 50th anniversary year.

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