Report: 'Putin doesn't want to give Netanyahu a gift'

Putin 'keeping options open' regarding jailed Israeli-American, while Israel remains in political deadlock, report says.

Arutz Sheva Staff ,

Naama Issachar
Naama Issachar
Courtesy of the family

Russian President Vladimir Putin refuses to release Naama Issachar because he does not want to give a "gift" to Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, Russia's Echo of Moscow Radio reported.

Issachar was sentenced to 7.5 years in a Russian prison for possessing 9.5 grams of marijuana while passing through a Moscow airport.

Though she claimed to have "no idea" how the drug got into her bag, she was recorded telling her friend that she's "in much bigger trouble" than the two had hoped for.

Quoting two people with "knowledge of internal Kremlin deliberations," Bloomberg said that Putin's unwillingness stems from his desire to retain an advantage at this stage, while Netanyahu is in "political limbo."

According to the site, Putin will decide Issachar's fate - but only after the political deadlock in Israel breaks.

"Putin wants to keep his options open," Bloomberg quoted Cliff Kupchan, chairman of risk consultancy Eurasia Group, as saying. "Netanyahu is on thin ice and Putin wants to keep his options open. His personal relationship with Bibi is no longer a political asset."