'Espionage case could seriously damage relations with US'

Senior Israeli official warns arrest of Ben-Ami Kadish, the 83-year old American accused of spying on Israel's behalf in 1980's could impair diplomatic relationship with key ally despite decades that have passed since affair.

'This will overshadow Bush's visit and, primarily, decrease any chance of securing a pardon for Jonathan Pollard,' say Israeli government sources in Jerusalem.

The arrest and grave nature of the indictment filed against Kadish were the leading topics on the agenda among Israeli cabinet ministers on Tuesday evening.

One of them estimated, off the record, that the timing of Washington's move was premeditated.

According to the minister, US defense and federal law officials are concerned that Bush may pardon Pollard in his last days in office and therefore chose to indict Kadish over two decades after the time of his offense, long after he ceased to pose a threat to national security.

The decision to move forward with the stagnant case, said the minister, was intended to thwart Pollard's release as a US gesture on Israel's 60th anniversary. However, Bush has not hinted towards any such move ahead of his visit to Jerusalem.

'Kadish is an American patriot'

Good friend of US citizen accused of spying on Israel's behalf says Kadish a loyal American, adds he saw no change in his behavior over past weeks. A US army veteran himself, Kadish was active in charity fundraising for disabled former US servicemen.

The Department of Justice in Washington reported that Kadish is suspected of giving military secrets involving nuclear weapons, fighter jets and air defense missiles to Israel during the 1980s. Court papers indicate Kadish acknowledged his spying in FBI interviews and said he acted out of a belief that he was helping Israel.

Applebaum, who is also 83-years old, met Kadish and his wife Doris at a retirement home in New Jersey seven years ago. Applebaum said that he and Kadish were both active in American and Zionist organizations, and that they belonged to a group of Jewish veterans who had served in the army. Applebaum had served during World War II, while Kadish had belonged to the Palmach before immigrating to America.

1 comment:

Naftali2 said...

This always happens when the Israeli government somehow angers the State Department. In this case, issuing permits for housing in areas the US doesn't want Israel to build. Israel's return leverage is the fall of the Olmert government and the election of Netanyahu.