Pollard Permitted to Interview
May 17, 1998 - Orly Azoulay Katz - Yediot Achronot
On Friday, May 15, 1998, 4 days after the Government of Israel
officially recognized Jonathan Pollard as its agent, Pollard was
permitted for the first time to talk with reporters at the federal
prison in Butner, North Carolina.
Pollard gave interviews to Israel's two television networks, and
afterwards spoke with newspaper journalists. In the presence of an
American NSA monitor, dressed in a khaki prison uniform, his long hair
flowing to his shoulders, Pollard did not hide his satisfaction with the
Government's decision to grant him official recognition.
Are you encouraged by the conversation you just had with (Cabinet
Secretary) Dani Naveh?
"I am very satisfied with the conversation. I have confidence in Dani."
Will the Government of Israel now submit an official request for your
"Naveh laid out a decisive and intensive plan of action, and I can only
hope and pray that it succeeds. I am known as a great skeptic, but after
hearing what Dani had to say, I believe him, and I am confident that the
Government now knows what it has to do."
There are those that feel that the "pilgrimages" by Israeli officials to
visit you will only hurt you. Do the Americans approve of these visits?
"The visits have an extremely positive effect. Without the visits, I do
not believe that the Government would ever have come to the positive
decision that it has just taken."
M.K. Yossi Beilin has sharply criticized the decision and claims that it
damages Israeli security interests.
"People like Beilin don't understand that Americans don't like it when
you try to treat them like fools. With all due respect to Beilin I know
Americans a little better than he does. What Beilin is really saying is
that he prefers to lie."
Do you feel that previous governments betrayed you?
"I prefer not to use the term "betrayed". I think that terrible
mistakes were made (by previous governments) and the worst mistake of
all was the belief that ultimately the US would resolve this case
Was the material that you gave to Israel held back so as not to hurt
the US security interests?
(At this point the NSA official intervenes and motions to Pollard to be
careful in answering.)
"Certain accounts of my activities and the information I gave Israel are public, and they speak for themselves. And those who still do not know, will have to remain in the dark forever."
Do you regret your past actions ?
"Yes. Everything. There is no justification for what I did. And I am
very sorry for it. I should have made "Alyiah" (emigrated to Israel) at
once. The decisions I made at the time were based on fear and anguish
over the fate of our nation. These were the emotions that colored my
judgment. I should have just returned home (to Israel) instead of taking
the steps that I did."
What was the worst moment for you in the last 13 years that you have
been in prison?
"My worst moment came as I was sitting in my dungeon cell in Marion,
watching the news, and seeing my worst nightmare come true as the Iraqi
Scud missiles were falling on Tel Aviv. I felt that I had failed. I had
hoped that my actions would have prevented this from happening.
What would you like to say to the people of Israel?
"I would like to tell the people of Israel that I have never left them.
Never. Their encouragement and support has meant everything to my wife
I cannot think of a finer group of people to come home to than the
people of Israel."