Jerusalem mayor 'bumps into' Jonathan Pollard in New York

Times Of Israel Staff - September 27, 2016

Paroled spy's wife tells Nir Barkat the couple yearns to make their 'true home' in the Israeli capital

Pollard and his wife Esther were sitting at an outdoor cafe in Manhattan, near a venue where Barkat was to appear at a fundraising event. The mayor's office said in a statement that he "bumped into" the released spy.

Barkat stopped to chat, then took a gold Jerusalem pin from his lapel and gave it to Pollard, who had been awarded honorary citizenship in the capital city while he was in jail.

"Even though Jonathan is prohibited from coming to Jerusalem," said Esther Pollard, "the eternal capital of the Jewish people can come to New York, or any other place in the world. We look forward to, and hope for, the day when we can come to Jerusalem and make it our true home."

The parole terms issued upon 62-year-old Pollard's release after serving 30 years of a life sentence require him to stay in his New York home from 7 p.m. to 7 a.m., to submit any computer he uses for inspection, and to wear a GPS-monitoring device at all times. He also must remain in the United States for five years, despite his desire to move to Israel.

The unscheduled conversation marked the first time Pollard has met with any Israeli official since his release from federal prison last November, according to Barkat's office.

Last week Pollard was interviewed by reporter Amir Bar Shalom of Israel's Channel 1 television on the street in New York and said it would "take a miracle" for him to be allowed to make his home in Israel. During the interview, aired Friday, Pollard said he feels the people of Israel are supporting him, but sounded less certain about the government in Jerusalem.

"Do you still feel like Israel is behind you?" Bar Shalom asked.

"I feel that the am [Hebrew for nation] is clearly behind me," Pollard replied.

"And the government, no?" Bar Shalom pressed.

"Well, the government will do whatever it wants to do, I don't know," the former spy said, in a conversation punctuated by repeated statements of "I don't know."

"Yesterday we were in the meeting of [US President Barack] Obama and [Prime Minister Benjamin] Netanyahu. I don't think he mentioned you," Bar Shalom said.

"That's why I said it's going to take a miracle to bring me home," Pollard replied.

Pollard pleaded guilty in June 1986 to conspiring to deliver national defense information to a foreign government. Prosecutors said he gave secrets to Israeli agents from June 1984 through November 1985.

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