JERUSALEM, Dec. 22 (Xinhua) -- Israeli ministers are demanding on Sunday the U.S. to end espionage in light of the revelation that the National Security Agency has spied on Israel's top leaders.
"Now the secret is out," said Transportation Minister Yisrael Katz in a statement, "The U.S. is systematically spying on the defense and diplomatic leadership here in Israel. Is this how friends treat each other?"
Katz said he would urge the cabinet's Sunday meeting "to demand an American commitment to end the surveillance."
The Minister of International and Strategic Affairs Yuval Steinitz told Israel Radio that the eavesdropping is "illegitimate. " "Israel doesn't conduct surveillance on the U.S. President, the White House or the Secretary of Defense," Steinitz said.
He added that the U.S. and Israel "unprecedented" strategic alliance, "in a level sufficient to prevent eavesdropping or mutual espionage."
They also called for the release of Jonathan Pollard, an American citizen who was sentenced to life for passing classified information to Israel.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu hinted at the cabinet meeting that the government has raised the issue in private talks with the U.S. administration over the weekend, adding that he "hoped that the circumstances would be created that will enable returning Jonathan home."
The release of Pollard, who began serving his sentence in the U. S. in 1985, is a persistent Israeli demand from the U.S.
Documents leaked over the weekend by former NSA contractor Edward Snowden showed that the NSA cooperated with the British intelligence agency to intercept emails and phone calls of Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu, former Prime Minister Ehud Olmert and former Defense Minister Ehud Barak.