'It is something that has broken my heart to this day'

Pollard’s ex-wife: I still don’t understand why he divorced me

30 years after she and her then-husband were arrested for spying for Israel, as he finally goes free, Anne Pollard says she wants to ‘see, talk and meet with Jonathan’

Anne Pollard, the former wife of Jonathan Pollard, returns to Washington for the first time in 30 years, in an interview aired November 20, 2015. (screen capture: Channel 2)
Anne Pollard, the former wife of Jonathan Pollard, returns to Washington for the first time in 30 years, in an interview aired November 20, 2015. (screen capture: Channel 2)

Anne Pollard was jailed for five years for spying for Israel, alongside her then-husband, Jonathan Pollard, who received a life sentence. When she was released, she told Channel 2 television in a special interview aired Friday, she received divorce papers out of the blue, with no prior warning.

The Pollards were arrested in 1985 in the US for espionage. She served three and a half years, and her former husband was released Friday morning, after serving 30 years. To mark the occasion, Anne Pollard returned from Israel, where she now lives, to Washington, DC, where they were both arrested almost exactly 30 years ago.

“I came here with a purpose, to see Jonathan,” she said. “Not just to see Jonathan; I came here to see, talk and meet with Jonathan.”

After Anne’s parole, Pollard filed for divorce, apparently claiming that he did not want her to wait for him as he expected to spend the remainder of his life in jail. But once the divorce finalized, Pollard married his current wife, Esther, who had worked on the campaign to secure his release.

“It is something that has broken my heart to this day, because I sat for years in jail, focused on getting out, focused on having a life, a future with my then-husband, having a family with him and moving forward with our lives,” Anne Pollard told Channel 2. “I never… envisioned being divorced today. And coming here back today to watch Jonathan leaving prison after seeing 30 years. It’s mind-boggling.”

She said she had never spoken to Pollard about the end of their marriage. “I have no closure with the divorce.”

Jonathan and Anne Pollard on their wedding day (Screen capture: Channel 2)
Jonathan and Anne Pollard on their wedding day (screen capture: Channel 2)

With a Channel 2 camera crew accompanying her, Anne Pollard returned to the Israeli embassy that she said threw them out when they had been discovered by American law enforcement officials, and left them to pay the price for spying for Israel.

“It’s very hard for me to go back to this spot,” she said. “Because my whole life changed. Everything changed from this place.”

Standing outside the embassy, Anne Pollard accused Israel of abandoning her and her then-husband. “This is where the knife really went deep into the back,” she said. “That’s how I would describe it.”

She recalled the moment that they were apprehended. “You know it’s bizarre, it’s 30 years and I remember it like yesterday,” she said.

On the day that they were discovered, she said, their Israeli handler telephoned her as FBI agents were “tearing the house apart.” She told him that they had “very unexpected company” and deliberately called him by the wrong name. “He understood,” she said, claiming that he got on a plane to Israel immediately after the call.

She said that they were clearly told what to do: “‘Go to the Israeli embassy, at 10 am,’… and that’s exactly what we did.”

Jonathan Pollard is freed from prison after 30 years. November 20, 2015 (Courtesy/Justice for Jonathan Pollard)
Jonathan Pollard is freed from prison after 30 years, on November 20, 2015 (Courtesy of Justice for Jonathan Pollard)

“The gate [to the embassy] was open at exactly 10 o’clock. They [Israeli officials] told us to come… They knew exactly who Jonathan and I were that day… No Israeli embassy in the universe leaves their gate open and lets a car drive through unless they know crystal clear who you are.”

But when they arrived, she said, armed Israeli officials told them to leave, and they were forced to face the FBI agents waiting for them outside the gates.

“It was obvious they were going to arrest us,” she said. “I feel like they really stole our lives.”

Anne Pollard also had damning words for the “top echelons” of Israel at the time. “Not one of them extended a hand,” she said.

In the interview, Pollard pointed out the apartment in which she and her husband had lived, and where they began to transfer classified data to the Israeli government.

“I was very, very happy here,” she said, before correcting herself as she recalled the espionage: “In retrospect, that’s not happy at all,” she said.

She said she remembered the first time that Jonathan came home with documents to be copied. “He brought it to meetings that they had in an apartment [near the Israeli embassy]. He would bring the information up there, they would copy it and return it here,” she said.

Anne Pollard said that she remembers what the material was, but told her interviewer repeatedly: “I can’t tell you.”

The deception came to light when one of Pollard’s colleagues reported seeing him removing documents from his office. The Pollards were seen to be living a lifestyle beyond their means, and the FBI began to investigate.

The two were arrested outside the embassy, and Jonathan Pollard remained in jail for 30 years, until Friday.

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