MISHAWAKA, Ind. (AP) — A former U.S. Navy intelligence analyst convicted of spying for Israel did not attend his father’s funeral in Indiana on Monday, despite requests from numerous Israeli officials that he be allowed out of prison to pay his respects.
The White House earlier spurned Israeli appeals to let Jonathan Jay Pollard visit his father before he died Saturday at the age of 95.
U.S. Bureau of Prisons spokesman Chris Burke said Jonathan Pollard remained at Butner Federal Correctional Complex in North Carolina on Monday. Mr. Burke said he could not comment on whether Pollard had requested to attend his father’s funeral. Pollard‘s mother died in 2001, and he was not allowed to see her or attend her funeral.
Jonathan Pollard was a civilian intelligence analyst for the Navy when he copied and gave to his Israeli handlers enough classified documents to fill a walk-in closet.
Arrested in 1985 after unsuccessfully seeking refuge at the Israeli Embassy in Washington, Pollard was convicted and sentenced to life in prison two years later. He is scheduled for release in 2015, according to a U.S. Justice Department website.
About 100 people attended the service and funeral for Morris Pollard, who was a prominent researcher on viral diseases and a retired biology professor at the University of Notre Dame. The service was held in a chapel at the Hebrew Orthodox Cemetery in Mishawaka, near South Bend.
The only mention of Jonathan Pollard during the hourlong ceremony came when his sister, Carol Pollard-Levy of Hamden, Conn., said one of her father’s few regrets was “not being able to help his son achieve freedom.”
Morris Pollard kept trying to secure his son’s release from prison, even though he would not accept telephone calls from his father or allow him to visit.
Nearly two-thirds of the members of Israel’s parliament signed a petition calling for Pollard to be allowed to attend his father’s funeral, and dozens rallied for Pollard in front of the U.S. Embassy in Tel Aviv on Sunday.
Supporters of Pollard say he has languished in prison far longer than others spies convicted of far worse crimes against America and that he passed on secrets that were supposed to be shared with Israel anyway.
Pollard, 56, was granted Israeli citizenship in the late 1990s during Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s first tenure in office. When Mr. Netanyahu was out of office, he visited Pollard in prison. In January, Mr. Netanyahu made a formal appeal to the United States for Pollard’s release, and on Sunday his office said it had contacted Washington in hopes of at least getting him out for the funeral.
A string of top American officials, including former U.S. secretaries of state Henry Kissinger and George Schultz and former U.S. Vice President Dan Quayle, also have lobbied for Pollard‘s freedom.
Before he died, Morris Pollard said he couldn’t sleep at night because of his son’s incarceration. He called it “an overwhelming miscarriage of justice.”