Israel was reported today to have sent the State Department an interim report of its investigation of allegations that Jonathan Pollard, a U.S. Navy counterintelligence analyst arrested by the FBI in Washington last week, was spying for Israel.
The Foreign Ministry announced Sunday that it has launched a thorough probe into the affair and would keep the U.S. informed. The 10-man Inner Cabinet met in Jerusalem yesterday but touched only briefly on the spy case, according to reports.
The American Administration is publicly playing down the importance of the incident. The State Department’s deputy spokesman, Charles Redman, said Monday that the U.S. welcomed the promptness with which Israel launched its investigation, expressed confidence it would be conducted expeditiously and accepted without question that Israeli policy is not to spy on the U.S.
But political sources in Jerusalem were quoted today as expressing indignation over the tone and extent of U.S. demands on Israel in connection with the spy case. They said the Americas are demanding the return of documents, a full explanation and the right to question Israeli diplomats in Washington, several of whom reportedly have been recalled. (See separate story.)
According to the sources, these demands were unprecedented. Their reaction was the first public indication here that the U.S. has made any specific demands on Israel. Premier Shimon Peres refused to be drawn into the issue. “We do not interfere with American legal procedures inside the U.S. and inside Israel we act in accordance with Israeli law,” he said in a television interview today.
ISRAEL EMBASSY OFFICIAL TO BE RECALLED
Israel’s top leadership has avowed they knew nothing whatever of Pollard or his alleged activities and said they learned of it with “shock and consternation.” Israel Radio said yesterday that an official at the Israel Embassy in Washington will be recalled at the request of the State Department.
He was pin-pointed as the official contacted by Pollard who was reportedly seeking asylum at the Embassy when he was picked up by FBI agents nearby on Thursday, November 21. The Embassy official was not identified by name. But the Israeli media yesterday named Raphael (Rafi) Eitan, a former Mossad (secret service) operative who served former Premiers Menachem Begin and Yitzhak Shamir as an adviser on terrorism, as the Israeli official who recruited Pollard and operated him. Begin was quoted in Maariv as stating, through his personal aide, Yechiel Kadishai, that he never heard of Pollard before he read the newspaper reports of his arrest this week.
The Israeli pressgot Eitan’s name from the first draft of an article written for The Washington Post Tuesday. The name was deleted from the published article.
EITAN’S BACKGROUND OUTLINED
The Jerusalem Post said yesterday that Eitan spent most of his professional life in the secret service. Reputedly, he was the man who assaulted and kidnapped Nazi war criminal Adolf Eichmann near his home in a Buenos Aires suburb in 1960. Eventually, Eitan headed the Mossad, Israel’s senior secret intelligence service.
He remained with Mossad until the Middle 1960’s when Ariel Sharon briefly served then Premier Yitzhak Rabin as adviser on security measures. Sharon co-opted Eitan as his assistant, the Post account said. After that, Eitan went into private business and became a member of the Central Committee of Begin’s Herut Party.
He returned to security matters when Likud came to power in the 1977 Knesset elections. Begin appointed him adviser on terrorism in July, 1978, replacing Amitai Paglin who was killed in a car accident. Eitan worked out of the Prime Minister’s Office.
According to The Jerusalem Post, Begin did not concern himself directly with anti-terrorist activities. He gave his adviser much leeway and Eitan’s status received a further boost, the Post said, when Sharon became Defense Minister in 1981. The Post noted that Eitan created controversy when he stated on Israel Radio that Israel would have to live with terrorism for the next 100 years.
When Shimon Peres became Premier in the Labor-Likud unity coalition government he replaced Eitan with Laborite Amiram Nir. But Eitan was allowed to remain in the Prime Minister’s Office in an unspecified capacity.
Israel Radio said yesterday that the Embassy official facing recall from Washington was apparently traced to Pollard through taps, either on Pollard’s telephone or an Embassy phone. He will return home only after the spy case opens in federal court, and after the U.S. authorities have questioned him-with Israel’s consent — about what he knows of the case.
The Archive of the Jewish Telegraphic Agency includes articles published from 1923 to 2008. Archive stories reflect the journalistic standards and practices of the time they were published.