Is Israel Trying to Pay Off Pollard?

Canadian Jewish News - Week of December 6, 2001

JERUSALEM

- As Jonathan Pollard begins his 17th year in jail for passing classified information to Israel, the Israeli government is reportedly looking to pay him off.

According to Larry Dub, Pollard's attorney in Israel, Prime Minister Ariel Sharon's government offered Pollard $2 million (US). In exchange, Dub said, Israel would no longer have the responsibility of seeking Pollard's release.

The offer was brought to the imprisoned Pollard on Nov. 14 by an Israeli envoy, according to Justice for Jonathan Pollard, a group advocating Pollard's release. Pollard and his Toronto-based wife, Esther, immediately rejected the offer. A spokesperson for cabinet minister Dan Naveh, who is dealing with the issue on behalf of the government, refused to comment.

The Knesset last week marked the 16th anniversary of Pollard's incarceration. Legislator Michael Kleiner, who initiated the Nov. 21 session, accused successive Israeli governments of abandoning Pollard.

"Our government is willing to do a lot in order to return the bodies of soldiers so they can be buried in Israel, but prefers to bury Pollard alive," Kleiner charged.

Dub, too, had harsh words for the Israeli government.

"The government is obviously embarrassed because it's trying to buy off the Pollards," Dub said.


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