Knesset House Committee chairman David Bitan, who proposed the bill said, “We have a moral obligation to Pollard… (since) Israel failed to bring about his release.”
By GIL HOFFMAN
The government would pay for Jonathan Pollard to have “reasonable living conditions” for the rest of his life following his expected release from a prison in North Carolina November 20, according to a bill proposed in the Knesset on Tuesday.
Although the conditions for the Israeli agent’s parole after 30 years in prison have not been revealed, he is expected to be forced to remain in the United States for the next five years before he may be permitted to move to Israel. Upon his release, Pollard will seek immediate medical treatment for multiple ailments.
The bill, proposed by Knesset House Committee chairman David Bitan (Likud), would require the government to fund Pollard’s residence and medical expenses, as well as provide a monthly stipend to support him.
“We have a moral obligation to Pollard,” Bitan said.
“He sat in jail for 30 years while the government of Israel failed to bring about his release. Due to his age and poor health, he clearly will not be able to support himself on his own in a reasonable way without the support of the government.”
Reports that the government has been allocating money to Pollard during his incarceration have been vigorously denied. His wife, Esther, lives in the small apartment of a friend in central Jerusalem.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu declined to answer a question about Pollard in a press briefing in Washington Monday.
Opposition leader Isaac Herzog told The Jerusalem Post in an interview at the Jewish Federations of North America General Assembly in Washington that Israel should first make sure Pollard is indeed released from prison before it makes an effort to allow him to make aliya.
He criticized members of Netanyahu’s government for rejecting an April 2014 effort to bring about Pollard’s release in return for diplomatic gestures to the Palestinians.
“A golden opportunity to bring him home was lost,” Herzog lamented.
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