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 stated 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 stated. “There is no such thing as a one who’s extra pleased with this nation or its chief than we’re. We hope to turn out to be productive residents as quickly as doable.”

Pollard spent 30 years in U.S. prisons after he pleaded responsible in 1986 on expenses 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 troublesome 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 assist for Arab international locations within the Center East.

“I noticed that a complete new technology of ultra-sophisticated navy tools 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, nevertheless, welcomed Pollard’s homecoming.

College of Haifa political science professor Israel Waismel-Manor stated in a tweet that Pollard “shouldn’t be a Zionist hero,” however fairly somebody pushed “by ego and cash” who “induced 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 stated.

Prosecutors stated Pollard delivered suitcases filled with U.S. secrets and techniques to Israeli brokers in 1984 and 1985 in trade for items and money funds value tens of hundreds of {dollars}.