US Orthodox 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. Photo: Ilana Gold/WCBS-TV via AP Images

Marcy Oster

(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.