Israel erred, concedes Justice Elyakim Rubinstein, but convicted spy has served 29 years and 'that's enough'
Israel's Supreme Court Justice Elyakim Rubinstein has called for the US administration to pardon Jonathan Pollard, the American jailed since 1985 for spying on Israel's behalf.
Mistakes were made, mainly by the Israelis, but by the Americans as well, and 29 years was enough, said Rubinstein at a lecture last week at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy. His remarks were reported Sunday by Haaretz correspondent and analyst Amir Oren.
Rubinstein is expected to be named deputy chief justice of the high court next year.
Supreme Court justices rarely offer their views on current events, let alone comment about the decisions of foreign powers.
The lecture was delivered in memory of a former US ambassador to Israel, Sam Lewis, who died earlier this year.
Pollard was arrested at the end of Lewis’ term in Israel, when Rubinstein was acting ambassador in Washington. On November 21, 1985, Pollard tried to drive into the Israeli Embassy parking lot, was turned back by Israeli guards and arrested by FBI agents.
Rubinstein did not know that Pollard was being operated as a spy.
As Israeli attorney general in later years, Rubinstein was active in pushing for Pollard's release. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu reportedly raised the issue once again at his meeting Wednesday with President Barack Obama.
In his lecture, Rubinstein said he believed that Lewis also supported Pollard’s release.
Pollard's possible release was brought up earlier this year in efforts led by Secretary of State John Kerry to bring about a peace deal between Israel and the Palestinian Authority. One proposal floated at the time called for Pollard to be freed in return for Israel's agreement to free Palestinians accused of terrorism.