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Rafi Eitan Refuses to Sign Petition to Release Jonathan Pollard

Pensioner Party head and Knesset Minister Rafi Eitan refused to sign a special petition that could assist in the release of convicted spy Jonathan Pollard. The petition, already signed by more than 60 Knesset members, is to be given to U.S. President George Bush during Prime Minister Ehud Omert’s scheduled visit to Washington D.C. Eitan, who was reported to be Pollard’s ‘handler’ at the time of his arrest in 1985, as done little since then on Pollard’s behalf.

While it is true to Pollard did approach Israeli intelligence agents on his own free will, and that he wasn’t recruited unwillingly, the story of the incident, referred to as “The Pollard Affair”, clearly indicate that Jonathan Pollard did what he thought was for the benefit of Israel, and definitely not for personal gain. The immense suffering that Pollard has had to undergo during his more than 21 years of imprisonment is more than many convicted spies have had to undergo in recent times; man of whom committed crimes for worse that Pollards deeds.

Eitan, now a kindly looking elder member of Olmert’s new cabinet (Eitan is Minister of Pensions and Welfare) has a long history of service to the country’s top espionage network, including the Mosad, and was in charge of a special spy operation, known as Lekem, which was active in the years following the destruction of Iraq’s nuclear facility in 1981. Pollard came into the picture when he offered to supply Eitan and his colleagues with classified information that Pollard had access to via his job in U.S. Navy Intelligence. Since the arrest of Pollard and his first wife, Ann, in November 1981, Eitan has done everything to distance himself from the entire matter.

Esther Pollard, Jonathan’s current wife, and his attornies, Nitzana Darshan-Leitner and Larry Dub, allege that Eitan possess a document that could result in Pollards immediate release if they are turned over to the U.S. FBI and judicial authorities. Eitan is alleged to possess the only copy of this document, according to Mrs. Pollard and her attorneys.

With the exception of the Rosenberg spy case in the early 1950s, no spy convicted of committing acts of espionage against the United States has suffered so harsh a crime as Jonathan Pollard. Even spies such as the Walker family, convicted for passing important classified military documents to Russian KGB agents, have served less prison time and have now been released.

Since Rafi Eitan is now a government minister, the possibility of his giving assistance to Mt. Pollard is even more remote, as this could cause him legal as well as political complications. “Even today, Mr. Eitan refuses to help our client, and the document he possesses that could assist in Jonathan’s freedom remains solely with Eitan”, Pollard’s attorneys wrote. If the petition that Prime Minister Olmert is taking to Washington does assist in gaining Mr. Pollard’s freedom, it won’t be with the help of Rafi Eitan, who perhaps has some secrets of his own to conceal beneath his grandfatherly demeanor.


  1. I am sorry,but I agree with Raffi Eithan,besides
    its about time the Isralis should know that
    in most cases of espionage the US does not bend
    the rules.

  2. While I don’t understand why Israel does not push more for Pollard’s release to Israel (as an American, I would wonder at what quid pro quo would be offered), the implication that his punishment is singular doesn’t panout. It is incorrect to state that, [w]ith the exception of the Rosenberg spy case in the early 1950s, no spy convicted of committing acts of espionage against the United States has suffered so harsh a crime as Jonathan Pollard.

    Here are some of the sentences of people still behind bars for espionage.

    John A. Walker, Jr. Two life terms plus 10 years. (His son served 15 years and has been released.)

    Arthur J. Walker Life in prison.

    Jerry A. Witworth 365 years.

    Robert Pelton Three life terms (concurrent)

    Aldrich Ames Life without parole.

    It is apparent that Jonathan Pollard’s life sentence is not out of line with others which have been handed down for similar crimes.

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