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

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Yaffa Issachar, mother of Naama Issachar, arrives at Ben Gurion Airport from Moscow. (Flash90 photo)

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.

“I believe [Putin] will pardon her and that he’ll send her home as soon as possible,” Yaffa Issachar told reporters at Ben Gurion Airport. “That is the hope and belief.”

Putin is scheduled visit to Israel on Thursday 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.

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  the Second World War.

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.

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