Putin and Netanyahu
Putin and NetanyahuKobi Gideon/GPO

A senior official in the inter-ministerial team who handled contacts for the release of Israeli Naama Issachar from Russia's prison said Wednesday that there was no deal with the Russians, but the release of Issachar was done as a gift by President Putin to Prime Minister Netanyahu.

According to the source, there is also no connection between Issachar's release and the measures Israel has taken in favor of the Russians recently. "The gestures that Israel has taken towards Russia are also intended to tighten ties also in light of other issues between the two countries."

He noted that "the matter was handled by an inter-ministerial staff that included the head of the National Security Council, Minister Ze'ev Elkin, the Foreign Ministry, the Justice Ministry and the Deputy Attorney General. The issues were brought to the decision of the relevant ministers and the prime minister."

The official also explained the motives that led to the state's intervention in the case. "The state acted in Naama's case - not only because of the mutual guarantee that is true for other cases as well - but with a desire to resolve a case that could hurt the sensitive relationship between Israel and Russia and in light of the state's opinion on the issue of Naama is serious."