ISRAEL: Pollard makes more headlines


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Update on a previous post:

The buzz about Jonathan Pollard, the imprisoned former U.S. Navy intelligence analyst, continues in Israel. Israeli state comptroller Micha Lindenstrauss, requested by the appropriate Knesset committee to examine Israel’s actions toward Pollard’s release, said he was surprised to wake up to headlines this week quoting unnamed security sources warning that this would undermine efforts to release him. Hinting at an ongoing dispute between Prime Minister Ehud Olmert and the comptroller, the chairman of the Knesset committee, MK Zevulun Orlev, expressed his regret that Olmert was engaging in an irresponsible ‘ugly spin’ at Pollard’s expense.


Either way, Pollard’s wife, Esther, asked incredulously ‘what efforts’ exactly were being made for her husband’s release, and promptly answered that there were none. The whole ‘hysteria’ was all about money, she told Israel Radio this week. The government says it has given the Pollards constant support -- ‘but this is a complete lie’ she said.

Esther Pollard said she was told flat out by a source close to President Bush this week that ‘there is only one person who can release your husband, and that’s Bush. And there’s only one person who needs to request his release, and that’s Ehud Olmert.’ And Olmert, she says the source told her, ‘doesn’t want your husband.’

Some believe an aggressive attitude is the only way to go; yet others fear that the constant rumor mill will undermine quiet hopes that the United States will consent to release Pollard as a gesture to Israel.

— Batsheva Sobelman in Jerusalem