A former US Navy analyst who served 30 years in prison for spying for Israel moved there on Wednesday and was welcomed with a prayer of thanksgiving by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, reports Reuters.
Jonathan Pollard, 66, had long voiced a desire to emigrate to Israel, which granted him citizenship. The espionage affair strained US-Israel relations for decades.
Sentenced in 1987 to life imprisonment after he pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit espionage, Pollard was freed on parole in 2015.
A US Justice Department decision last month to let the parole terms' five-year travel ban go unrenewed was seen by some as a parting gift to Israel by the Trump administration.
Netanyahu met Pollard and his wife Esther as they disembarked in Tel Aviv, a video distributed by the Israeli prime minister's office showed. The couple, both Orthodox Jews, kissed the tarmac.
After saying a Hebrew prayer of thanksgiving for the liberation of prisoners, Netanyahu presented Pollard with an Israeli identity card. "Welcome home," the prime minister said. "Now you are a citizen of the State of Israel."
Israel Hayom newspaper, which first reported the couple's arrival, said they flew in aboard a private plane due to Esther Pollard's medical condition.