Israel’s consul general in New York on Wednesday denied claims that freed Israeli spy Jonathan Pollard recently visited the mission.
Channel 12 news reported earlier that Pollard, who served nearly 30 years in prison on a conviction of spying for Israel and has been prevented from leaving the country since his November 2015 release, was recently seen twice in the building that houses the Israeli consulate.
The report noted that Pollard would only be permitted to visit to consulate if approved by US authorities, and Channel 12 speculated that an agreement could be in the works that would see Pollard allowed to move to Israel.
But Israeli Consul General Dani Dayan denied that Pollard had been to the consulate.
“Just now I finished a check with all of the security team and with the entire department staff of the consulate,” he tweeted. “It never happened.”
The Prime Minister’s Office neither denied nor confirmed the report. “The prime minister is committed to bringing Pollard to Israel and for years has made efforts for that purpose and engaged administrations, including the Trump administration,” the PMO said in a statement.
Next week Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu will meet with US President Donald Trump in the White House. The prime minister will be in Washington to address the annual conference of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, which runs from March 24 through 26.
In November Channel 12 reported that Netanyahu last year asked Trump to allow Pollard to emigrate to Israel three years after the convicted spy was released from jail. Israel also lodged a formal request with the US Justice Department but it was rejected.
After Netanyahu met with US Vice President Mike Pence in February 2017, the latter reportedly agreed to consider the issue, and it was decided that Israeli Ambassador to the United States Ron Dermer would personally take it on.
In May that year, a US federal appeals court rejected Pollard’s request to lift restrictive parole conditions that were established following his release.
The parole terms require him to stay in his New York home from 7 p.m. to 7 a.m., to submit any computer he uses for inspection, and to wear a GPS monitoring device at all times.
Pollard, 64, also must remain in the US for five years, despite his desire to move to Israel.
Pollard pleaded guilty in 1986 to conspiracy to commit espionage in connection with providing Israeli contacts with hundreds of classified documents he had obtained as a civilian intelligence specialist for the US Navy.