An Orthodox group voiced support for a bipartisan prison reform bill which would ease prison sentencing, and tied the criminal justice reform effort to its ongoing advocacy for former Israeli spy Jonathan Pollard.
“As the White House seeks to improve the lives of so many through the advancement of comprehensive and compassionate criminal justice legislation, we urge President Trump to take steps to allow that benevolence to apply to Jonathan Pollard as well,” said Farley Weiss, president of the National Council of Young Israel. “After having served three decades in prison due to a highly disproportionate sentence, Jonathan Pollard deserves to have his outrageous parole provisions relaxed and be permitted to travel to Israel.”
Pollard pleaded guilty to spying for Israel in 1987. He was released in 2015, but is barred under the terms of his parole from traveling to Israel.
The National Council of Young Israel has long been one of the most vigorous voices in support of Pollard. Their press release praising President Trump for his support of the prison reform bill, called the First Step Act, mentioned Pollard in its headline.
“YOUNG ISRAEL: PRESIDENT’S SUPPORT FOR ‘FIRST STEP ACT’ IS A STEP IN THE RIGHT DIRECTION,” the headline read. “Reiterates Call for Jonathan Pollard to be Permitted to Travel to Israel.”
Josh Nathan-Kazis is a staff writer for the Forward. He covers charities and politics, and writes investigations and longform.
Orthodox Group Uses Jonathan Pollard Case To Push For Criminal Justice Reform