(JTA) — Jonathan Pollard told Israeli television in an impromptu interview in New York that “it’s going to take a miracle” for him to be allowed to live in Israel.
Pollard told Channel 1 in an interview that aired Friday evening that he feels the support of the people of Israel but not necessarily of their government.
The reporter, who ran into Pollard on the street, noted that during his meeting with President Barack Obama, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu did not bring up Pollard. Netanyahu in past meetings has urged Obama to let Pollard immigrate to Israel, despite his five-year parole.
“That’s why I said it’s going to take a miracle to bring me home,” Pollard replied.
Pollard, 62, pleaded guilty in 1986 to conspiracy to commit espionage in connection with providing Israeli contacts with hundreds of classified documents he had obtained as a civilian intelligence specialist for the U.S. Navy. He was released from a federal prison last November after serving 30 years of a life sentence.
Pollard has fought the restrictive terms of his parole, which require him to stay in his New York home from 7 p.m. to 7 a.m.; to submit any computer he uses for inspection, and to wear a GPS-monitoring device at all times. The device means that Pollard, who is Orthodox, is forced to violate Shabbat observance, his lawyer said. He also must remain in the United States for five years, despite his desire to move to Israel.
The restrictive terms reportedly prevent him from obtaining a job in his profession, as an analyst for an investment firm.
Ynet quoted an unnamed friend of Pollard as saying that he is not able to work in a different job, such as a salesperson, due to his health and age, and called him a “very smart and educated man.” The friend said Pollard and his wife Esther, who he married 22 years ago while in prison, are living off her teacher’s pension, community supporters and charity.
Pollard during the interview wished his supporters in Israel a “Shanah Tovah,” or Happy New Year, ahead of the Rosh Hashanah holiday.