Jewish Groups Ask Trump To End Pollard’s Parole So He Can Care For Ailing Wife

Jonathan Pollard, left, arrives at a federal courthouse in New York with his wife, Esther, to check in at a probation office just hours after he was released from prison, Nov. 20, 2015. (Ilana Gold/WCBS-TV via AP Images)

NEW YORK (JTA) — Three U.S. Orthodox Jewish organizations have sent separate letters to President Donald Trump asking him to end Jonathan Pollard’s parole so he can take care of his cancer-stricken wife.

Pollard, 62, a U.S. Navy civilian analyst who spied for Israel, said he cannot accompany his wife, Esther, to chemotherapy or help her in other ways necessary because of the restrictive nature of his parole. Esther Pollard is suffering from advanced metastatic cancer.

The Orthodox Union, Agudath Israel and the Coalition for Jewish Values wrote this week to Trump asking him to show “compassion” and “mercy,” and to lift the parole on “humanitarian grounds.” The parole is due to end in 2020.

Pollard was released from federal prison in 2015 after serving 30 years of a life sentence. Under the terms of his parole, Pollard must stay in his New York home from 7 p.m. to 7 a.m. and submit a written request if he wants to leave Manhattan during the day, submit any computer he uses for inspection and wear a GPS-monitoring device at all times.

In 2018, the Justice Department rejected a formal request from Israel to allow Pollard to immigrate to the Jewish state.

“For the past 30 years almost my wife Esther has been fighting for my life. Now I’m fighting for hers … but I need help,” Pollard said in an interview with an Israeli news program in August.

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  1. Hard to imagine the President would take a political hit just to cut a spy’s parole by a year. On the other hand, our president is unpredictable. It might happen. I would bet against it. We will see.

  2. I certainly don’t agree with what Pollard did, nor did I agree with what his handlers did, who fled the USA, and escaped justice, and who never returned the hundreds of documents, which were stolen; that being said, Pollard has been punished enough; he spent a a number of years in solitary confinement, and was physically and psychologically abused by the FBI, and by his jailers, in an effort to get additional information out of him. They thought (and possibly, some still do) that there were others who were involved. They deliberately mistreated his first wife in prison, Anne Henderson Pollard, in an effort to get back at Pollard, to force him to give more information out. In the end, the government double crossed Pollard, and threw the book at him, giving him a life sentence, when they initially told him, that his sentence would not exceed 15 years for cooperating. Further, Bill Clinton lied when he promised that he would commute Pollard’s sentence after fifteen years, and then changed his mind when George Tenet (the incompetent head of the CIA, whose negligence helped bring us 9/11/01), threatened to resign. However, after being imprisoned for 30 years, (including not letting Pollard attend the respective funerals of both is Father and his Mother), the Justice Department still was not through with Pollard. It was annoyed that it was forced to let Pollard out after 30 years, and hence, came up with a very cruel, vindictive plan, to further humiliate Pollard, and make his life as miserable as possible. He must wear a monitoring device 24/7, which has to be recharged, even on Shabbos and Yom Tov. He is under virtual house arrest for 12 hours per day, making it impossible to go to Shul at night. He is restricted to a small area of Manhattan. He lives in a five building, with no elevator, and hence, is forced to schlep up five flights of stairs, carrying heavy groceries. He has one bedroom, and one bathroom. The total square footage of his apartment is very small. Yes, he is out of one prison on one hand, but is in another prison. The government mandated these restrictions for five years. However, there is no guarantee that those momzarim won’t extend the restrictions for a longer period. Even his Parole Officers are on record as stating that they’ve never seen such restrictive parole restrictions, for a non-violent, first time offender. There have been other cases of individuals convicted of espionage for the Soviet Union, who served 30 years, and were freed, with no restrictions, after they left prison. The government is playing a very cruel game with Pollard, and his wife. If it wants justice, let it go after Colonel Aviem Sella, Pollard’s handler, who fled the USA, and is under indictment here. Trump should also pressure Netanyahu for the Israelis to return the documents which they still have, which Aviem Sella pressured Pollard to turn over. This entire episode stunk from the beginning, as it was not a “rogue” operation. Pollard should not have taken the fall, for the others who were involved. Yes, he deserved to be punished, but thirty years was excessive, and the cruel, vindictive parole restrictions are more than excessive.


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