Report: Israel takes public responsibility for Pollard

April 3, 1998 - CNN

Israel has provisionally decided to take a measure of responsibility for convicted spy Jonathan Pollard but will stop short of claiming him as an Israeli agent, a newspaper said Thursday.

The decision by a Cabinet committee comes in the wake of an appeal by Pollard a former U.S naval analyst serving a life term for giving classified military documents to Israel to Israel's Supreme Court.

Pollard wants Israel to recognize him as an agent in hopes it would help win his release from a federal prison in North Carolina.

The statement tentatively approved by the ministers does not go so far as to say Pollard was authorized to spy for Israel, but it acknowledges Israel has a responsibility to Pollard, the Haaretz newspaper said.

"Pollard was enlisted by people who worked as emissaries of the state of Israel. Therefore, from Pollard's perspective, he saw himself as an agent of Israel. ... Hence, the state of Israel sees itself as responsible as if he was an agent," Haaretz quoted the statement as saying.

Pollard's lawyer, Larry Dub, said Pollard told him in a letter Thursday he would not accept anything short of recognition as an Israeli agent.

While Israel has made repeated pleas for Pollard's release, it has always maintained that he acted on his own.

Israel granted Pollard citizenship last year, and several Cabinet members have visited him recently.