PM Promises to Bring Home Girl Imprisoned in Russia; Mother: I Believe Him

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu. (Marc Israel Sellem/POOL)

In an interview Wednesday, Yaffa Yissachar, the mother of Naama Yissachar, said that she believed Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu would succeed in bringing her daughter home, after he promised to do so Tuesday night. “I believe things are happening behind the scenes and I have great hope she will leave prison, maybe even tomorrow.”

Netanyahu made that promise at an election campaign rally Tuesday night. “You call me a magician, but when it comes to [Russian President Vladimir] Putin, I am no magician. But I promise you one thing, I am going to bring Naama Yissachar home. You can mark my words, this is going to happen,” the prime minister said.

Yissachar is currently serving a seven-and-a-half-year term in a Russian prison. She was arrested in October and, in a flash trial, was sentenced to prison for allegedly carrying 9.5 grams of marijuana. So far, all appeals to Russian authorities have proven fruitless. Israeli officials suspect that Yissachar was arrested for use as a “bargaining chip,” with the Russians hoping to prompt Israel to release a Russian hacker whom the United States is trying to extradite on spying charges.  However, Israel has already sent that individual to the U.S. for trial.

While she was not aware of any specific developments and no one from the government has briefed her, Yaffa Yissachar said she was “optimistic. I know she is going to come home. When will that happen? I hope it will be tomorrow, or before Chanukah. Netanyahu in his remarks may be hinting at something, I am not sure. I really don’t know what to do anymore in order to bring my child home. We are doing everything we can to free her, and I can only hope that justice will soon be done and she will come home,” she said.