Netanyahu to Israeli held in Russia: ‘Citizens of Israel are thinking of you’

“We do not abandon anyone to their fate. The State of Israel and I are investing ceaseless efforts to affect your release,” Netanyahu said.

By TPS and World Israel News Staff 

The citizens of Israel “are thinking of you” and the country is working to get you out of prison, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said in a letter he sent to Naama Issachar, who is serving a seven-and-a-half-year sentence in a Russian prison for a minor drug offense.

“The citizens of Israel are thinking of you. We do not abandon anyone to their fate and so it is in your case as well. The State of Israel and I are investing ceaseless efforts to affect your release,” Netanyahu said in the letter, sent on Monday.

Israel is “in contact with members of your family and in every conversation with them we emphasize our commitment to bringing you back home soon,” he added.

Naama’s mother Yaffa spoke with Netanyahu on Monday evening and thanked him for the letter.

She said that Naama received the letter and had expressed excitement and great appreciation over his words.

“Naama said that the letter strengthens her and instills great hope,” said the mother.

Twenty-six-year-old Naama was arrested on April 9 at Moscow’s Sheremetyevo Airport, where she had stopped for a connecting flight to Tel Aviv from New Delhi. Russian authorities found 9.5 grams of cannabis in her luggage, arrested her and took her into custody to await trial.

She was convicted on October 11 in Moscow’s Khimki City Court on charges of drug possession and smuggling and was sentenced to seven and a half years in prison.

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A Russian court in December rejected Issachar’s appeal.

After the verdict was announced, Netanyahu spoke to Yaffa and told her that “despite the disappointing court decision I am not giving up. I’ll keep doing whatever I can to bring Naama home.”

Netanyahu called Russian President Vladimir Putin at the end of December to discuss foreign policy and request Naama’s release. Putin is among world leaders scheduled to arrive in Israel later this month for a summit conference marking the 75th anniversary of the liberation of the Nazi Auschwitz death camp in Poland.

Israeli officials have expressed the hope that Putin would use the visit to make some form of gesture to ease Issachar’s situation.