Dec. 30 (UPI) — Former Navy intelligence analyst Jonathan Pollard, who stole and bought high secret U.S. paperwork to Israel within the 1980s, arrived to a heat welcome in Israel on Wednesday, weeks after parole restrictions that barred him from touring overseas had been lifted by the Trump administration.

Pollard, 66, was greeted by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and different high officers after a personal jet carrying he and spouse Esther touched down at Ben-Gurion Airport close to Tel Aviv.

“Welcome house,” Netanyahu mentioned after Pollard, who’s Jewish, knelt to kiss the bottom. “Now you can begin life anew, with freedom and happiness. Now you might be at house.”

“We’re excited to be house finally,” Pollard mentioned. “There is no such thing as a one who’s extra happy with this nation or its chief than we’re. We hope to turn into productive residents as quickly as attainable.”

Pollard spent 30 years in U.S. prisons after he pleaded responsible in 1986 on fees of spying for Israel. He was freed on parole 5 years in the past however had been topic to circumstances just like the journey ban.

These restrictions had been allowed to run out final month by the U.S. Justice Division — a transfer seen by some as a political reward from the departing Trump administration to shut ally Netanyahu, who’s embroiled in a corruption scandal and a tricky re-election marketing campaign.

The Pollards arrived in Israel aboard an plane registered to American billionaire Sheldon Adelson, a staunch supporter of each Trump and Netanyahu.

At his 1986 trial, Pollard claimed he handed high secret intelligence to Israel solely due to his perception that the Reagan administration was intentionally endangering Israel’s safety by withholding “essential info” concerning the Soviet Union’s help for Arab nations within the Center East.

“I noticed that an entire new technology of ultra-sophisticated army gear was quietly being launched into the arsenals of our most implacable enemies, with out Israel being forewarned by her ostensively ‘loyal’ allies,” Pollard wrote earlier than his 1987 sentencing, UPI reported on the time.

“I actually did not know whether or not I used to be observing a short-fused time bomb or one thing extra manageable. … Regrettably, the difficulty of cash has served to obscure my true motives within the affair.”

Israel has lengthy argued that Pollard’s life sentence was too harsh, although it didn’t admit that he’d labored instantly with its authorities till 1998. Frequent requests for an early launch had been repeatedly denied till the U.S. Parole Fee ordered Pollard’s launch in 2015.

Not everyone seems to be Israel, nonetheless, welcomed Pollard’s homecoming.

College of Haifa political science professor Israel Waismel-Manor mentioned in a tweet that Pollard “is just not a Zionist hero,” however reasonably somebody pushed “by ego and cash” who “precipitated extreme injury to Israeli-U.S. relations.”

“[He] hit a devastating blow to American Jewry by elevating a twin loyalty suspicion. It could have been higher if he had stayed within the U.S.,” he mentioned.

Prosecutors mentioned Pollard delivered suitcases stuffed with U.S. secrets and techniques to Israeli brokers in 1984 and 1985 trade for items and money funds price tens of 1000’s of {dollars}.