(JTA) – U.S. President Barack Obama reportedly will not intervene to allow Jonathan Pollard to travel to Israel after he is paroled from federal prison.
Obama could waive the requirement that prevents Pollard from leaving the United States but is unlikely to do so, the Washington Post reported Tuesday, citing Obama administration officials.
Pollard is scheduled to be released Nov. 20 after serving 28 years of a life term for spying for Israel. Under the terms of his release, he must remain under supervision in the United States for the next five years. Pollard, a former analyst for the U.S. Navy, was arrested in 1985 for providing classified documents to Israel.
It is not known if Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu raised the issue of allowing Pollard to come to Israel during his meeting Monday in Washington with Obama.
“President Obama has not intervened in the judicial process here in the United States, and that’s been his consistent approach,” Ben Rhodes, the U.S. deputy national security adviser, told reporters during a briefing ahead of Netanyahu’s visit. “With respect to the case of Jonathan Pollard, he’s made clear that he wants there to be fair treatment under the law, as there should be with any individual. But he as president has not intervened in that process. He respects how important this issue is to many Israelis.”
In 1995, Pollard was granted Israeli citizenship, in part because he hoped to travel to Israel as soon as he was released.
Pollard’s second wife, Esther, lives in Israel. His supporters have found him a place to live and a job in advance of his parole.