The United States' demands of Israel following the arrest and subsequent indictment Tuesday in the U.S. of Ben-Ami Kadish on charges of spying for Israel recalled similar demands following the 1985 arrest of Jonathan Pollard, American sources familiar with the case have told Haaretz. At that time, Israel announced its full cooperation and handed over information to the American investigators, in effect greatly aiding the case against Pollard.
According to the American sources, Israel is currently refusing to repeat this mistake but it eventually will have to admit, to the U.S. government and perhaps also to the public, that Kadish was indeed working for official agents of the State of Israel.
Yesterday's Foreign Ministry statement, according to which Israel halted its espionage activities against the United States on U.S. soil in 1985, also hints at this. Its language leaves the door open for Israel's admission that Kadish was an Israeli agent but ceased these activities in 1985, as stated in his indictment. Pollard was arrested that year.
According to the charge sheet, it was Kadish's brother Ehud, who lives in Israel, who made the initial contact between Ben-Ami and his Israeli handler, Yossi Yagur, when Ehud and Yagur worked together at Israel Aircraft Industries (now known as Israel Aerospace Industries).
Another interesting question, which remains to be answered, is the issue of who will pay for Kadish's legal fees. At the beginning of the Pollard affair, a public committee was founded that was supposedly composed of volunteers who collected money to pay for the defense of Pollard and his wife at the time, Anne Pollard. It later became clear that the public committee was actually a front for the Israeli government and intelligence community.
Barak Ravid adds: "The events date back to the early 1980s," Foreign Ministry spokesman Arye Mekel said yesterday. "Since 1985, great care has been taken to observe the directives of the prime ministers not to conduct activities of this kind in the U.S."
"Relations between the United States and Israel have always been based on true friendship and mutual values and interests," Mekel added.
According to U.S. court documents, Kadish confessed to the crimes of which he is accused and told the FBI he had sought to aid Israel. The information he allegedly passed to Israel dealt with nuclear weapons, fighter aircraft and defensive missiles.
Kadish, 84, was released on $300,000 bail Tuesday following a brief appearance in a Manhattan federal court.
The Foreign Ministry announcement was one of two exceptions to the official silence that prevailed in Jerusalem yesterday on the story.
The other was a statement made by Environmental Protection Minister Gideon Ezra, who in an interview to Israel Radio said he did not believe the affair would damage Israel-U.S. relations. He said that Kadish was not another Pollard.
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