Naama Issachar Is Now Free!

Naama's mother with Russian President Putin
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Update: Naama has now been set free, and is headed back to Israel with Prime Minister Netanyahu!

Last month I wrote about the plight of Naama Issachar and called for a boycott of Russia’s state owned Aeroflot until she was freed.

She was alleged to have flown with 0.33 ounces of marijuana in her checked luggage as she flew from India to Israel via Moscow. She had no way to access the drugs during her connection, but was charged as a distributor and sentenced to 7.5 years in Russian prison.

She was held as a political pawn to extract concessions from Israel. 

The great news is that Haaretz is reporting Putin has signed her pardon and she will be released soon.

The Russian president has never previously granted a pardon to a foreign national.

Originally Russia had wanted fraudster Aleksey Burkov to be exchanged for Naama. In the end Russia asked Israel to transfer part of the Russian Orthodox Church property in Jerusalem’s Old City to the Kremlin as a “goodwill gesture” ahead of Naama’s release. Russia has long wanted that land, It is unclear as of now if that request was granted.

Obviously one should never fly with illegal drugs, but I’d still be wary of connecting in Russia. Will you fly Aeroflot in the future?

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45 Comments On "Naama Issachar Is Now Free!"

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Brian Goldberg

Does that mean people can fly Aeroflot again or not?


Obviously was used as a political tool, but not entirely innocent. Notwithstanding the new ideology in the world today – she was travelling with drugs which one should not.


Mazel Tov! Great news indeed. Thanks for sharing.


Great news! Thank you for posting!
And for all the people that are going to write that they come here for deals and not Dan’s opinions or feelings… Save your breath and refer to all the previous times people have written and responded to those posts.
In short, if you walk in to someone else’s home (read: webpage) they choose what they want to say not you. If it’s too much for you to handle, find somewhere else to go. It’s your choice to come here in the first place. Simple as that.


Great news! I hope it comes to fruition. Regarding flying through/to Russia- I still believe that should be completely avoided. Because (with the help of G-D) we became lucky that Naama will go home, that is not to say that a next time would have the same positive outcome. I feel like it’s also possible that in anger, some Russian law enforcement may look to “capture” more Jews.


From a tweet I read online the land that Israel gave to Russia actually belonged to Russia before, there was a fight between 2 Russian authorities for years about this land and they couldn’t solve it, all Israel did now it sign that the land belongs to the side that is affiliated to the Kremlin.


Apparently Bibi will pick her up in person on his way back from DC, tomorrow morning.


I feel like Israel should arrange to pick her up today, right this second! Not wait for tomorrow. For such a delicate and sensitive situation, God forbid something or someone changes from today to tomorrow and/or something happens to Putin.


Yikes, JJ. Didn’t think that kind of info was available. Commercial airlines I can understand, but this…? Crazy world.
May we all continue to make the right choices and make the world a better place. Thanks for your service!


Just because they filed that info doesn’t mean it’s what they’ll do.


Good point


Interesting flight plan. Why the little dip into Romania instead of continuing over the Nordic countries?


not over Romania, It’s Ukraine


why 2 flights showing in the schedule?

Texas Totty

Good thing she’s not flying Aeroflot!


! ברוך מתיר אסורים


Awesome news


wow dan all because of u

Don\'t Exagerate, it takes away from Reality

I wouldn’t go that far. But yes, TY Dan for helping out.

tony c

Dan, dont push against russia too hard…you don’t want their eyes on you!

Shaul Yaakov Morrison

It is unclear whether she had the drugs or they were planted. It seems that perhaps she admitted to it under duress in the hopes of getting off. The police then used that as a basis for the charge. Hers or not, the sentance and the due process was a sham. Whatever confession she may have made would be inadmissible in most parts of the world.


LIVE from outside Naama Issachar’s penal colony in Moscow region


Wow! Great news!
What happened to the weekly news roundup?


don’t use Aeroflot I would say, and for that matter Air Serbia, Turkish, Air Ukraine or Lot Polish as a connection option.




Great end B”H.
Just being devils advocate here, maybe she said that it was not for personal use but someone gave it to her? (Not that it really justifies the prison term but just to understand why she was tried as distributor)
Anyway the way the Russians behave with the Chabad library is so unfair and disgusting that for that alone they should be boycotted.
(I wonder if Dan has any insight on that saga)


Didnt I read a story of a yeshiva brochure who spent two years in prison in Russia b/c of a stop over in Moscow and he had souvenir bullets with him ?


If it was just a brochure I’m ok with that.


Dan, you are to be commended. You didn’t need to stick your neck out and you did. You have backbone.


Why were they even searching her bags if they were only in transit?
Do bags generally get scanned/checked on every stop over?

Küm Ba\'aya

Excellent question


Was possibly detected by K-9 unit.


Glad Bibi was Putin some efforts into that.

sarah lagnado

I would never even DREAM of travelling with any Russian airliner. I had a friend whose son was stuck in Russia for three days and nobody had heard from him or knew where he was. He ended up coming home on another one-way flight after giving his parents absolutely hell on earth not knowing where he was for 3 days.
I’ve heard other nightmare stories with Russian flights and would not trust them within an inch of my life! Better go the extra mile and pay for trustworthy airline companies.


so sad! giving land that belongs to all Jews!!!!!!!!! thieves!


nothing to celebrate!

Ed A

The Nat Geo had several episodes on “Locked up Abroad” where Americans were picked up for smuggling drugs on layovers in third countries, and one guy was arrested in Russia. And when there are tensions between countries, there is a temptation to arrest people to use as a bargaining chips such as Iran and Turkey have done with American citizens. We went on a cruise that stopped in Turkey this summer and that thought was in the back of my mind as I wandered into town.