Israel to Decide Sunday on Pension for Pollard

The initiator of the proposal, Knesset House Committee Chairman David Bitan, wants the pension enshrined in law to preempt future U.S. pressure for its cancellation.

Convicted spy Jonathan Pollard and his wife, Esther leave the federal courthouse in New York, November 20, 2015.
AP

The Ministerial Committee for Legislation will decide on Sunday whether to provide a lifetime annuity to released spy Jonathan Pollard.

Paroled last month after serving a 30 year prison sentence in the United States, Pollard is prevented from leaving the U.S. by the terms of his parole.

According to the proposal before the committee, which was submitted by Knesset House Committee Chairman David Bitan (Likud,) Israel will pay Pollard a monthly pension and contribute to his housing and medical expenses. The government will set the level of the monthly stipend according to criteria established by law.

"After everything that Pollard has been through and his contribution to the State of Israel, the government needs to ensure that he lives in dignity," Bitan said.

Bitan is insisting that the assistance to Pollard be enshrined in law, rather than be determined by a government decision.

"The U.S. is our greatest friend, but its decisions regarding Pollard were not reasonable," Bitan said. "There could be American pressure on Israel to freeze the payment. In order to preempt such foreign pressure it is necessary to entrench the issue ino law, which will oblige the government to transfer the money in any circumstance."

Pollard was convicted of spying for Israel in 1985. According to the conditions of his parole, he is prevented from leaving the U.S. for five years, a provision that will be revisited in another two years.

He wears an ankle bracelet that tracks his movements and is forbidden to talk to the media or access the Internet.  

A New York court is currently considering Pollard's appeal against the terms of his parole.