Israeli spy Jonathan Pollard is reportedly engaged to be married, less than a year after losing his wife, Esther, a long-time advocate for his release from US prison.
Esther Pollard died of COVID-19 complications in January, having also battled breast cancer for years.
Pollard will marry Rivka Abrahams-Donin, a mom of seven and a member of the ultra-Orthodox Chabad community in Israel, ultra-Orthodox news site Haredim 10 reported on Wednesday.
According to Hebrew-language media, the announcement was set to be made Wednesday Monday morning but the couple asked to postpone it until after the funeral of Maj. Bar Falah, the deputy commander of the elite Nahal reconnaissance unit. Falah, 30, was killed while leading his troops to arrest two suspected Palestinian terrorists early Wednesday.
Showing gratitude to his late wife for her “infinite love,” Pollard said in the announcement that it was she who introduced the two and “allowed this miracle to happen.”
Pollard had moved with his late wife, Esther, to Israel in December 2020, after he served 30 years in US prison for espionage, followed by five years of parole.
“This is not how I expected for us to come home to the land,” Pollard said at her funeral in January. Esther and Jonathan were married while the latter was serving his sentence and was an advocate for his behalf, campaigning for years for his release.
The widowed Abrahams-Donin is an immigrant to Israel who lost her husband seven years ago, according to Haredim 10. The family lives in Jerusalem.
Pollard and his bride-to-be plan to wed in about two months, after the High Holiday period.
As an intelligence analyst in the US Navy’s counterterrorism center, Pollard passed thousands of crucial US documents to Israel, straining relations between the two close allies.
He was arrested in 1985, convicted of espionage and sentenced to life in prison two years later, despite pleading guilty in a deal his attorneys had expected would result in a more lenient sentence.
He was eventually released in 2015, but was kept in the United States by parole rules and not allowed to travel to Israel.
For several years, he remained subject to a curfew, had to wear a wrist monitor, and was prohibited from working for any company that lacked US government monitoring software on its computer systems. In addition, he was restricted from traveling abroad.