Deal to release Israeli woman held in Syria delayed

Negotiations hit snag after 2 Syrians held by Israel say they don't want to be deported to Syria. Israel hopes deal will be complete soon.

Arutz Sheva Staff ,

Meir Ben-Shabbat
Meir Ben-Shabbat
Amos Ben Gershom/GPO

The deal to release an Israeli woman who was arrested after accidentally crossing the border into Syria is facing delays.

The head of the National Security Council, Meir Ben Shabbat, and the coordinator of the prisoners and missing persons, Yaron Blum, returned tonight (Wednesday) from discussions in Moscow regarding a deal according to which the Israeli citizen, a 20-year-old haredi woman, will be returned to Israel.

The two sides, which are talking to each other through mediators from Russia, are ready for the deal, but the two Syrian prisoners held by Israel are the ones delaying it because they do not want to be deported to Syria.

The political system in Jerusalem says that the deal will be executed within a few days and the Israeli will be returned and will also be questioned by the Shin Bet about the circumstances that led her to cross the border.

The two Syrian prisoners are Nihal al-Maqt and Dhiab Qahmuz. Al-Maqt was convicted of incitement in 2017. She told Syrian Al-Ikhbariya TV that she has been released from house arrest and that she is "now free in my homeland.”

Al-Maqt said that soldiers came to her house to inform her of the negotiations between Jerusalem and Damascus to secure her release and told her that she would be freed from house arrest if she relocated to Syria. However, she asked to be allowed to remain in the Golan Heights, a request which she says was granted.

Earlier, Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu addressed the affair. "We are not commenting on reports about the affair in Syria. We are engaged in saving lives. We are in the midst of sensitive contacts. I use the connections of President Putin. We are acting discreetly and I hope we are close to ending the affair."