Israel welcomes release of spy Jonathan Pollard in US

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Jonathan Pollard, who was convicted of spying for Israel in the United States, was released from prison, a move welcomed Friday by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

Pollard was arrested in November 1985 and convicted in 1987 for giving Israel classified information while working as a US naval intelligence analyst.

He was sentenced to life in jail and is being released on parole after 30 years behind bars.

“After three long and difficult decades Jonathan finally is reunited with his family,” Netanyahu said in a statement.

Israeli officials have reportedly been instructed to keep a low profile with regards to the release, as Pollard’s case has been a source of tension between Israel and the US, its closest ally.

Pollard’s supporters have long argued he has been treated harshly by the US justice system.

Israel admitted in the 1990s that Pollard was its agent and granted him citizenship. Pollard is currently banned from leaving the US.

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