Of Convicted Spies and Real Estate Broker Fees

Last Friday, when Jonathan Pollard was released on parole after serving thirty years in federal prison for espionage, I wondered where he would choose to reside. Perhaps Manhattan’s Upper West Side? Riverdale? Teaneck, New Jersey? Perhaps in the mobile camper that two Israelis drove up to the prison in on the early morning of his release?

Will he and his wife need to pay a real estate broker’s fee? What if he is allowed to emigrate and moves to Israel? Is paying a broker’s fee and security deposit and first and last month’s rent advisable? So many things to consider.

My guess is that a job and residence have already been secured close to a Young Israel, since one of his strongest advocates has been Rabbi Pesach Lerner, executive vice president emeritus of the National Council of Young Israel (seen pictured above with Pollard and Pollard’s wife, Esther (nee Elaine) Pollard).

Pollard will most likely live better than his first wife, who reportedly – after her release from prison – was living with her ill father – impoverished. After pleading with the Israeli government, according to some reports, she and her father were provided a flat and some support in Israel. Three decades ago, it was reported that Pollard and his then wife received only $45K for his spying for Israel (but that was pre-tax).

Pollard should expect to pay over $2000 a month for rent. A look at the Jewish Press classifieds shows that a nice one bedroom can be obtained for that amount. And Trulia has 2 bedrooms in Riverdale in the West Bronx listed for about $3200.

Last Friday, Congressmen Jerrold Nadler and Eliot Engel, both NYC area Democrats, sent a letter to U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch (formerly of Brooklyn) noting that “after serving 30 years in prison, it is Mr. Pollard’s wish to move to Israel with his family so he can resume his life there” and asking that the Department of Justice “give Mr. Pollard’s request the fair consideration it deserves.” For some, it would be nice if he could just fade away and be forgotten. As General MacArthur sort of said, old spies just fade away.

Pollard, a former civilian analyst for the U.S. Navy, was convicted of providing classified secret U.S. documents to representatives of Israel, as well as allegedly selling information to other countries, including Pakistan and then-apartheid South Africa. Pollard also brought home secret documents on China which his wife used in an attempt to score a public relations contract with the Chinese government in Washington DC. Wolf Blizter, in a book on the Polard, characterized him as “a son of the American Jewish community run amok.”

I secretly hope that he lives in Manhattan in the same building as another Pollard family, so that a visiting spy handler can ring the wrong buzzer, and the other family can reply, “Oh, you want Pollard the spy. He is in 5B.”

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