TEL AVIV (Mar. 1)
The Israeli government has rejected a request by an ad hoc coalition of Knesset factions to grant honorary Israeli citizenship to convicted spy Jonathan Pollard.
Pollard, an American Jew, is serving a life sentence in a U.S. federal prison for spying for Israel.
Deputy Interior Minister Rafael Pinhasi told the Knesset Interior Committee on Wednesday that the government ruled against citizenship for Pollard after consulting with Prime Minister Yitzhak Shamir and other ministers.
He said Pollard’s situation would not be improved by making him an Israeli citizen.
In fact, it could do grave harm to Israel and Pollard alike if he were granted citizenship while in an American prison, according to Ovadia Eli, chairman of the Interior Committee.
The petition on behalf of Pollard was submitted by Knesset members Edna Solodar of the Labor Party, Pinhas Goldstein of Likud, Shlomo Dayan of Shas and Geula Cohen of the opposition Tehiya party.