Image source: Israel Hayom

Esther Pollard, the wife of convicted Israeli spy Jonathan Pollard, passed away at Hadassah Hospital Ein Kerem, Jerusalem after complications from COVID-19 on Monday.

Jonathan spoke movingly during the funeral at Har HaMenuchot Cemetery. 

“The land will embrace you and you will truly become part of the land you loved so much,” Pollard said.

“This is a sad day for the entire Jewish people, who mourn this historic and exemplar person,” said Shomron Regional Council head Yosi Dagan. 

Prime Minister Naftali Bennett offered condolences, stating that Esther was a woman whose devotion to her husband was a “symbol of strength, determination and faith”.

Pollard was arrested and pleaded guilty in 1985 after failing to gain asylum at the Israeli embassy in Washington. Serving 30 years of a life sentence at a North Carolina prison, following his release in November 2015, parole sanctions included wearing an electronic bracelet and curfew. 

Israeli leaders welcomed the US ending parole restrictions in December 2020.

Pollard praised Esther when he was languishing in cell for restoring his hopes. The couple were married during the prison sentence.

Israel’s relations with US were damaged for a number of years over the espionage incident.