Israeli Government Should Admit It Backed Spy - Pollard

March 6, 1998 - Reuters

Three quarters of Israelis believe that the government should publicly take responsibility for convicted American Spy Jonathan Pollard's activities on Israel's behalf, according to a poll made public on Thursday.

Israel's Supreme Court postponed for 60 days on Monday (March 2) the hearing of Pollard's petition that Israel admit that he acted as its agent.

The former U.S. Naval intelligence officer has served 13 years of a life sentence for passing classified information about Arab Countries to Israel.

The Gallup Poll of 500 Israelis for Jerusalem-based INDEPENDENT MEDIA RESEARCH AND ANALYSIS (IMRA) showed 74 percent wanted Israel to take responsibility. The poll had a margin of error of 4.4 percentage points.

"I find it paradoxical that a person who was clearly an Israeli agent, was nabbed at an Israeli Embassy (in Washington) and yet the government of Israel will not acknowledge that he was a spy," said IMRA co-director Joseph Lerner.

Israel originally distanced itself from Pollard, saying that he had been controlled by a rogue operation rather than by the State itself. It made him an Israeli citizen two years ago. U.S. presidents have denied Pollard clemency.