Jailed spy seeks to block Israel minister

Agence France Presse - May 1, 2006

A former Pentagon official who was jailed in the US for passing secrets to Israel has petitioned the high court to block the appointment of his old Mossad handler to the incoming coalition cabinet.

In the petition, Jonathan Pollard claimed that Pensioners party leader Rafi Eitan should not be allowed to serve in government as he had "betrayed" him and acted "unethically" over his arrest for spying two decades ago.

The petition is not thought to have much chance of holding up the appointment of the government on Thursday, however, as it concedes that Eitan did not commit any criminal offence.

Pollard is serving a life sentence for giving thousands of secret documents about US spy activities in the Arab world to Israel between May 1984 and his arrest in November 1985.

Eitan is in line to enter prime minister designate Ehud Olmert's new coalition later this week in a newly created pensioners' affairs portfolio.

His party was the surprise winner of seven seats in a March 28 general election, only a couple of months after its creation.

The issue of Pollard, an American-born Jew who has taken Israeli citizenship while in prison, has been a thorn in the side of Israeli-US relations.

The presence in cabinet of Eitan -- still subject to an FBI arrest warrant -- will be something of an embarrassment for Olmert when he visits Washington later this month.

  • See Also: Pollard To Supreme Court: State has no right to forfeit my life to appoint Eitan: Justice4JP Release