The Headlines

Mother of jailed American-Israeli backpacker Naama Issachar believes Putin will pardon her this week

By Marcy Oster

JERUSALEM (JTA) — The mother of an American-Israeli woman jailed in Russia for flying with nine grams of marijuana said she believes Russian President Vladimir Putin will pardon her daughter and allow her to come home to Israel.

Putin is scheduled visit to Israel later this week to speak at the Fifth World Holocaust Forum in Jerusalem. While there, he is scheduled to have private meetings with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and President Reuven Rivlin.

“I spoke to President Putin once again yesterday regarding Naama. I felt that he has genuine readiness to reach a solution,” Netanyahu said in a statement on Friday. “I am more optimistic but I can’t elaborate.”

A day earlier, Netanyahu’s office released a similar statement.

“We have arrived at the moment of truth, this week I will know when Naama will be released,” Yaffa Issachar said at Ben Gurion Airport near Tel Aviv. “I want to go see and strengthen the prime minister, I believe Putin will pardon her and bring her home.”

Senior Israeli officials have asked the Issachar family and supporters to tone down their rhetoric ahead of and during Putin’s visit, where it is believed he will announce her pardon.

An unnamed senior Israeli official told Israel’s Channel 12 on Saturday night that Israel does have something to give Putin in exchange for the pardon, though he did not elaborate beyond saying it “does not hurt” Israel. It is believed to involve Israel showing support for the Russian narrative that Poland bears partial responsibility for the outbreak of World War II.

Putin and Netanyahu also will dedicate a monument in Jerusalem’s Sachar Park to those who were killed in the siege of Leningrad, Netanyahu said Sunday at the start of his weekly cabinet meeting.

Main Photo: Naama Issachar attends an appeal hearing at the Moscow Region Court in Krasnogorsk, Russia on Dec. 19, 2019. (Artyom Geodakyan/TASS /Getty Images)

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