White House readying to release spy Jonathan Pollard: report
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The White House is planning to release American citizen and Israeli spy Jonathan Pollard, according to a report in The Wall Street Journal.
 
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The American-born Pollard has been jailed since 1987 on a life sentence for passing classified information to Israel. 
 
He’s eligible for parole in November, but the Journal reports that “some U.S. officials are pushing for Mr. Pollard’s release in a matter of weeks.”
 
The Journal reports that officials pressing for Pollard's release arguing it could smooth relations with Israel over the Iran nuclear deal.
 
The White House and the Justice Department both declined to comment to the Journal.
 
Anonymous U.S. officials disagreed on whether the alleged push is an effort to ease tensions with the Israeli government that is livid over the Iran nuclear deal that it believes could threaten its national security.
 
Rabbi Shmuley Boteach, a conservative Orthodox Jewish rabbi, told The Hill that Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) gave him the news last week, but he held his silence until the Journal story to not jeopardize Pollard's release.
 
“I was told that Sen. Cruz had met with the Justice Department and other representatives from other branches of government and they said that he was going to be paroled in November," he said in a telephone interview.

"If President Obama played a role, and I don't have that information, in his release, then I thank the president immensely for this humanitarian gesture and God bless President Obama for doing so."

Boteach said that Pollard had paid his debts and that it is "highly inhuman and unjust to hold him for this ridiculously long time."  

He added that the release should be "utterly unrelated" to the Iran deal, which he opposes, and said that the public will not be swayed to support the deal because of the gesture. 

"You can't promote the interests of one prisoner to the detriment and possible danger of hundreds of millions of other citizens," he said.

"But if you ask me, do I think it will sway the American Jewish public? I do not."

This story was updated at 4:51 p.m.