JERUSALEM (Mar. 17)
Vice Premier and Foreign Minister Shimon Peres said the government would abide by the recommendations of the Cabinet-appointed committee examining the Jonathan Pollard spy case, even though it is not legally bound to do so.
Peres made the pledge in an address to the Diamond Jubilee celebrations of Hadassah here. He was referring to the two-man committee of inquiry into the government’s involvement in the Pollard affair which began its work Tuesday. The panel consists of Yehoshua Rotenstreich, a prominent lawyer, and Gen. (Res.) Zvi Tsur, a former Chief of Staff.
Peres said he was confident that after they questioned the political echelon they would reach the conclusion that “we were in complete ignorance” of Pollard’s activities.
He acknowledged that “unbearable mistakes” were made. It was a mistake, he said, to appoint former Mossad operative Rafael Eitan chairman of Israel Chemicals, the largest government-owned corporation, and to give Air Force Col. Aviem Sella command of one of Israel’s largest air bases. Peres was referring to the two senior Israeli officials most closely linked to Pollard’s operations.
“We don’t want American Jews to spy for Israel, so why create an impression that we are for it?” Peres asked. He stressed however that “there is nothing criminal to support Israel or to sympathize with Israel, whether you are Jewish or non-Jewish.” But spying on a friendly country is a mistake, he added.