Jonathan Pollard, the former U.S. Navy intelligence analyst imprisoned in 1987 after pleading guilty to spying for Israel, was hospitalized Friday after losing consciousness, the Jerusalem Post reports. Pollard, now 60, faces a life sentence. His health has deteriorated significantly in recent years; he underwent surgery in March on his kidneys, gall bladder, and intestines.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu reportedly called Pollard’s wife Esther following news of the hospitalization.
Pollard’s life sentence has become increasingly controversial in recent years. His release was reportedly discussed in March as part of an effort to jumpstart flagging Israeli-Palestinian peace negotiations, a proposal which sharply divided American Jews.
Several months before that, Tablet called for Pollard’s release in an editorial, arguing that the crime to which he pled guilty carried with it a maximum prison sentence of 10 years, and that political motives were what has kept Pollard in jail for nearly 30 years.
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Stephanie Butnick is deputy editor of Tablet Magazine and a host of the Unorthodox podcast.