Photo Credit:
President Obama overlaid against photo of Jonathan Pollard.

Jonathan Pollard is expected to be freed November 20, according to a decision by the U.S. Parole Commission, Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked confirmed Tuesday.

U.S. media, however, are reporting that Pollard is to be released on November 21. He is the only American citizen ever sentenced to life in prison for spying on behalf of a U.S. ally.


Regardless of which date it is, the White House said in a statement there was “no link” between the decision and the Iranian nuclear deal with the U.S.-led delegation of world powers, or “any other ongoing foreign policy matter,” according to The Hill.

There has been much speculation in media circles as to whether the Pollard “ace in the hole” was pulled in order to sweeten the bitter Iranian nuclear pill that President Barack Obama shoved down Israel’s throat. If so, it’s not likely to win the game: an ace in the hole cannot match an existential threat.

Pollard, 60, received a sentence of life in prison that lasted 30 years on a single count of passing classified information to an ally. He was arrested in 1985 and convicted in 1987 of spying for Israel.

In accordance with parole board regulations, Pollard must remain in the United States for the next five years, his attorney said. President Barack Obama could allow him to move to Israel sooner if he so chooses, however.

The former Israeli agent is not in good health; he underwent surgery in March 2014 for problems with his gall bladder, kidneys and intestines. In December 2014, Pollard lost consciousness and was again hospitalized. His current health status is reportedly stable.


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Rachel Levy is a freelance journalist who has written for Jewish publications in New York, New Jersey and Israel.


  1. Mr. Pollard has been in prison since I was in high school. From what I understand, his actions may have saved Israeli lives, but did not put a single American at risk. 30 years ago I was told that the information Mr. Pollard passed to Israel was information that the US had agreed to give Israel, in exchange for information about Russian weapons design. But the US did not keep it's part of the deal. If that is true, it seems as though his imprisonment may have been meant to cover up for whoever did not do what they were supposed to. Hatzlacha, Mr. Pollard!

  2. Dear Ms. Levy, thank you for your article. Please ask the Jewish Press editors to reword the headline they gave your article to "Jonathan Pollard to be paroled in November." He will not have freedom of movement to travel to Israel. If one does not have freedom of movement, one is not truly free. Thank you, pmf.

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