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'Fervently' in Love With Israel, Spy Pollard Says

November 21, 1986|DAN FISHER | Times Staff Writer

JERUSALEM — Convicted spy Jonathan Jay Pollard described himself today as bitter at the Israeli political leadership but still "fervently and . . . passionately" in love with Israel a year after his arrest for espionage outside the Israeli embassy in Washington.

Pollard, in an exclusive interview at the U.S. federal prison in Petersburg, Va., with Wolf Blitzer, Washington correspondent of the English-language Jerusalem Post, said he is "tired . . . frustrated and . . . scared as hell." But he said he still intends to emigrate to Israel one day.

The interview, the first the former U.S. Navy intelligence analyst has given since his arrest, was published in today's editions of the Post.

Pollard pleaded guilty last June to receiving $2,500 a month for turning over classified U.S. documents to Israel. He and his wife, who is free on bail after pleading guilty to the lesser charge of possessing classified documents, are awaiting sentencing.

'Befuddled, Heartbroken'

In the Jerusalem Post interview, Pollard described himself as "befuddled" and "heartbroken" over the treatment he received from the Israeli government after his arrest. Contending that he was part of an unauthorized espionage operation, Israeli officials gave him no support and even provided the United States with key incriminating evidence against him.

"I feel the same way that one of Israel's pilots would feel if, after he was shot down, nobody made an effort to get him out," Pollard told the Post. "Not even lifted a finger--in fact, questioned his abilities and his motivations."

The former Navy analyst called on the Israeli government to change its approach to his case. "By avoiding the issue, Israel is leaving an unburied body to rot and stink and foul the air," he said.

While repeatedly denying that he ever intended to harm American interests, Pollard stated: "As far as I am concerned, I am as much a loyal son of that country (Israel) as anybody has been. I did my best. I am sorry if it wasn't the most effective thing from a long-range standpoint, but I really did my best."

Blitzer described Pollard as feeling torn "from his earliest childhood . . . between his allegiance to the U.S. and his passionate love of Israel."

He quoted Pollard: "I fully intend to become a useful and productive member of Israeli society. That's home. That's my homeland."

Pollard's arrest on Nov. 21, 1985 triggered a crisis in Israeli-American relations that lingered through much of last winter. Israel ultimately apologized over the affair and said it disbanded the previously secret intelligence gathering unit that employed the former Navy analyst.

Blitzer reported last week that Pollard was pressured by his Israeli controller into taking money for his efforts and that he had refused to provide some information to Israel that he felt would harm the United States.

By the time of his arrest, according to the Post, Pollard had collected $45,000 in cash, $30,000 in a numbered foreign bank account, two $10,000 overseas trips and an expensive diamond-and-sapphire ring for his wife.

The Post article resulted from a three-hour interview with Pollard, according to Blitzer. He reported that the former Navy analyst had lost nearly 60 pounds and quit smoking during the last year. "Those have been the few positive developments that have happened," Pollard said.

Blitzer described Pollard as "especially bitter about the insinuation that he had spied for Israel for monetary gain." He said that in his Navy job, he had come across information about "very serious military threats facing Israel" that were not being relayed via official channels.

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