By Lilach Shoval, Israel Hayom—
IDF Col. Aviem Sella, who handled spy Jonathan Pollard, is slated to be promoted to the rank of brigadier general (res.) at a ceremony at the Kirya military complex on Wednesday, as originally reported by Israel Hayom.
The decision to promote Sella was made on a recommendation by Israeli Air Force commander Maj. Gen. Amikam Norkin and approved by both IDF Chief of Staff Lt. Gen. Aviv Kochavi and Defense Minister Benny Gantz.
Sella was in the United States in 1984, when he met then-CIA analyst Pollard, who would eventually provide Israel with classified US intelligence. Sella was apprehended when Pollard was arrested by the FBI in 1985 but he was nevertheless charged in absentia with three counts of espionage, and for years the US demanded that he be prosecuted.
In 1978, Sella was promoted to the rank of brigadier general and given command of Tel Nof Airbase, but he turned down the promotion to defuse US-Israel tensions and was subsequently appointed an instructor at the National Security College. He later retired from the military but continued to lend his experience to debates on strategic issues.
In January 2021, just before leaving office, US President Donald Trump pardoned Sella, following painstaking efforts by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, then-US Ambassador David Friedman and then-Israeli Ambassador to Washington Ron Drummer.
Sella was one of the architects of the operation to strike Iraq’s nuclear reactor in Osirak and also oversaw a strike on surface-to-air missile batteries in the Lebanese Bekaa Valley during the First Lebanon War. In 1976, he was awarded a citation from the head of the IAF for the development of a command and control apparatus. Continue Reading…