POLLARD THANKS GOVERNMENT FOR RECOGNIZING HIM AS AGENT ISRAEL LINE WEDNESDAY, MAY 13, 1998 Jonathan Pollard, the American imprisoned in the United States for spying on behalf of Israel, thanked the Government of Israel for its decision on Monday to recognize him as an Israeli agent, YEDIOT AHARONOT reported. Pollard, who has been jailed for over 12 years, wrote a letter to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and the committee dealing with his case, saying that the Government showed "courage and honesty." Pollard said that the step encouraged him to believe that the Government will do all that is possible to bring him to Israel. Minister of Immigrant Absorption Yuli Edelstein of the Yisrael B'Aliyah Party called upon U.S. President Bill Clinton to release Pollard, saying "Israel has declared publicly that Pollard was an Israeli agent, and he himself expressed his regrets for the crime he committed. Now, after he has spent over 12 years in prison, it is time to release him for humanitarian reasons. Please allow him to build a family in Israel." MA'ARIV reported the Knesset member Yossi Beilin, who was Cabinet Secretary during the Pollard case, said that the current Government's declaration is "irresponsible." He explained that during 1986, a unity Government of Labor and Likud had stated that Pollard's activities were unauthorized. Beilin also said that the Government's statement at the time reflected reality and averted a disaster in Israeli-American relations. "Today's statement makes the original one a lie and casts a long shadow over any future announcements by Israeli governments regarding security issues it might be accused of," Beilin said.