'Higher-ups' responsible for harsh parole, says Pollard wife

Gil Hoffman & Sam Sokol - The Jerusalem Post - January 26, 2016

Israeli spy Jonathan Pollard's parole conditions are harsher than those who committed violent crimes, because of "orders from higher up," his wife Esther told Jewish leaders in New York on Monday.

Jonathan and Esther Pollard briefed some 45 Jewish notables at a meeting organized by the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations. The first meeting since Pollard was paroled from prison after serving 30 years of a life sentence on November 20, it was intended to allow him to thank them for years of lobbying on his behalf.

Due to advice from his lawyers, Pollard spoke for only 10 minutes and avoided controversial subjects. They warned him that his parole board could return him to prison at any given point to complete the remaining 15 years of his life sentence, which was 45 years at the time of his sentencing.

Esther Pollard spoke for most of the meeting about the limitations imposed on him in his parole conditions.

Because his access to computers is limited, he has a strict curfew and must wear a GPS monitoring device, Pollard was not permitted to accept a job offer and remains out of work.

When leaders offered the Pollards assistance at the meeting, they turned them down. But a source said money was being collected privately to enable the couple to get by.

The Jewish leaders were told that Pollard's parole officer said such parole conditions were given to only three people out of thousands of former inmates, the others being a pedophile and a murderer.

The conditions were imposed even though he was a model prisoner and there was no danger of him committing a crime.

"Esther said when she asked the parole people why there were such restrictions they said these are orders from higher up," said a Jewish notable who participated in the meeting.

A new confidential document, a letter that was hand-delivered to US President Barack Obama by President Reuven Rivlin, was revealed during her speech and used to flesh out the current situation.

New York Democratic Congressman Jerrold Nadler spoke at the event and called the parole restrictions excessive. He said he would continue efforts to try to ease them. A New York judge is expected to rule soon on whether the conditions will be eased.

Many participants described Jonathan Pollard as being "articulate and warm" to the audience.

The Pollards said at the event that they have no interest in writing a book or maintaining a high-profile public life.

"We want to live a quiet life without fanfare in Israel," Esther Pollard said.

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