Five years after his release on parole and two days after his travel restrictions ended, Israeli spy Jonathan Pollard released a statement on his next steps, tempering expectations of a rapid relocation to Israel.

“Thirty years ago, my beloved wife Esther found her way into USP Marion, the highest security prison in the United States, where I was languishing in a dungeon cell three stories underground behind 13 locks and keys. Esther reached out and cut the shackles off of my heart and restored my soul to life. That is when the fight for my freedom began in earnest,” he said in a statement through the Justice for Jonathan Pollard committee.

“Fast forward 35 years. Today, Esther, fearlessly cut the GPS device off of my wrist, restoring me to almost complete freedom (with full authorization from the parole office.) The final step to freedom that remains is our return home to the Land and the People we love. God willing, very soon!”

Pollard’s conviction of espionage for Israel some 35 years ago, while working as a naval intelligence officer, strained relations between Israel and the United States. His imprisonment led to a long campaign to have him released, including through repeated appeals for clemency by Israeli leaders to U.S. presidents. He was granted Israeli citizenship after his conviction.

In his statement on Sunday, Pollard said he and his wife were “overwhelmed with gratitude and we want to thank all of the wonderful people in Israel and in the U.S. from the bottom of our hearts who fought for us throughout all of the long years on the road to freedom.”

He said that due to his wife’s “dire medical situation” the couple would stay in the United States for a time, “calmly and quietly arranging our aliyah to Israel and assuring Esther’s on-going medical treatment.” Thus, he explained,  the couple will keep “a very low profile so that I can focus on taking care of my beloved wife.”

He also released a picture showing him holding his tracking bracelet after Esther cut it off.

This article first appeared in Israel Hayom.


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