Naama Issahar told about life in a Russian prison: “I learned Russian”

photo: Ekaterina Sazhneva

Google translation of an article in Moskovsky Komsomolets newspaper

In the cell, she did yoga, and now she’s thinking of writing a book about everything that happened to her.

The 21st camera of PKU IK-1 in Iksha near Moscow today does not leave the TV all day. Catch the news from Tel Aviv. The women who sit here cry, laugh and sincerely wait for good news: if everything works out, their cellmate, 26-year-old Naama Issahar, an Israeli citizen, will be released in the very near future.

“Everything will be fine,” Vladimir Putin promised in the morning, who is on a visit to this country, to the mother of a girl who was convicted by a Russian court for smuggling hash in 2019.

The president also said that the human rights ombudsman in Russia immediately went to the pre-trial detention center where her daughter was being held to check the conditions of Naama’s detention.

But even earlier, Tatyana Moskalkova came here as a human rights defender, a special correspondent for MK.

This is not my first visit to Naama Issahar. She sincerely enjoys any guests who, of course, are rare in places of detention. And, to be honest, she still does not believe that her problems will soon come to an end.

“All I dream about is to have coffee at home with my mom,” says Naama.

She is an extremely optimistic girl. All the time on the positive. When in my previous article I wrote that Naama, despite her enormous term, smiles, does not lose heart and intensively learns the Russian language, which she did not speak before, all Israeli media immediately took up this publication. “How did you get into her cell ?!” they inquired, suspecting “Kremlin propaganda” and not really understanding that a journalist, if he is a member of the Public Observation Commission of the Moscow Region, has the right to verify compliance with the rights of those arrested and convicted in the local prison . By the way, there is no such human rights structure in Israel.

Tatyana Moskalkova was expected in Iksha after three days. And the inhabitants of the 21st chamber did not yet know what kind of happiness they would bring. Will the condemned Israeli woman be released immediately? And on what grounds? Nobody knows this at all. Since the mechanism of her release is not particularly clear.

Naama herself did not write a petition to the president for clemency, since she did not admit her guilt. Therefore, Putin will not be able to have mercy on her.

Another option is to send the girl to serve her sentence at home, and let them act with her there as they see fit. But this is not a matter of one day.

However, in our country, any outcome is possible. The pre-trial detention center employees are only waiting for supporting documents, on the basis of which they have the right to release Naama Issahar. Apparently, they are already tired of the attention of Russian and foreign media. Moreover, according to the statement of Mrs. Moskalkova, the management of the EC has already been issued a representation for unlawful refusals to visit the convicted mother. Although, according to the law, the girl met no more and no less than it should and the court allowed: twice a month.

Just in case, Naama’s cellmates helped to collect the way out last night. If the president does not solve the issue with her immediate release, then the suitcases will still be useful, since soon the girl will be sent to the colony, where she is supposed to serve her term – 7.5 years in prison. Most likely, in Mozhaisk or Vladimir.

Recall that the story of Naami Issahar is not only sad, but also instructive. Drugs in any quantity – evil!

Did a simple yoga instructor flying through Moscow from India to Israel in April 2019 think that instead of six hours in the transit zone, the Sheremetyevo would stay in Russia for so long?

Having received two boarding passes in her hands, Naama went to land. Since the Israeli woman already had a boarding pass for a connecting flight, the girl calmly passed passport and pre-flight control and went straight to the departure lounge.

Naama Issahar was detained right at the counter when she showed her boarding pass. They found 9.5 grams of hash in her bag – not large, but significant storage. Yes, the “weed” belonged to her, but Naama absolutely did not think that she was carrying anything forbidden: according to the laws of Israel, the use of hash and its derivatives is decriminalized.

By Russian standards, the girl was also threatened with just a fine. But big politics intervened. According to the investigation and the court, the unfortunate Israeli woman was a smuggler, since she still crossed the Russian border with drugs.

The fact that, being in the transit zone, she did not have access to luggage and did not intend to use it, and even more so – to sell her weed, did not affect the verdict. He was really harsh.

Initially, it was that the girl was simply not lucky to be in the wrong place at the wrong time, and she was arrested specifically to exchange for IT specialist Alexei Burkov, who was called the “Russian hacker” and accused of involvement in cyber attacks and fraud in the US computer industry. He was behind bars in Israel and was awaiting extradition to America. But Russia was never extradited to Burkov – in December last year he was nevertheless sent to court in the United States.

Naama’s fate hung in the balance again. Her mother lived in Moscow for six months, during this time she beat the thresholds of all instances, reached the Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu, who sympathized with the situation; finally, there was information that during Putin’s January visit to Israel, a woman would have the opportunity to meet with him and ask for her daughter.

Of course, not just like that. In exchange, Israel at the end of December transferred to the possession of Russia the Alexander Metochion in Jerusalem near the Church of the Holy Sepulcher, which the Russian Orthodox Church unsuccessfully requested for a very long time. Sources in the Israeli media confirmed that this gift was made solely in order to save the citizen of their country.

“Naama, have you heard about this?”

“To be honest, no,” the girl is embarrassed. “But I also prayed for freedom.”

– Yes, we all prayed about it! – pick up the roommates on the camera. – Naama, here promise us if you will be released, go to this Orthodox church and put a candle for us all …

Naama nods.

Women say their camera will soon be called happy. Here are the so-called “first movers” – those who were imprisoned for the first time, mainly for economic crimes. Long terms, unlike Naama, they are not threatened.

– How do you smell good perfume! – women sigh. – And we are only allowed to use deodorants, and a bath twice a week. So missed the good makeup …

– And about freedom?

– By freedom – by itself!

In their free time, which is enough in a pre-trial detention center, they do yoga together: Naama “planted” the whole cell on her. I painted in pictures how to do poses-asanas correctly. But the picture does not allow him to take pictures – he says he is shy.

Today’s Naama Liyat’s sister has a birthday. She was 33 years old. Relatives have the opportunity to regularly correspond by e-mail, including in jail. By the way, writing in English is more convenient and faster, since it takes about a week to wait for a translation from Hebrew.

“Listen, from our last visit, your Russian has improved a lot,” I praise the girl. – You speak almost without an accent, You can’t even believe that you don’t have our roots.

– Thanks. I really didn’t speak Russian before the arrest. But now I’ll probably be: there are millions of people from Russia in Israel. I also started reading books here – somehow my hands didn’t reach this. Now I read “Shantaram” – this is a novel about India.

– Do you want to return to India?

– I haven’t thought about it yet, to be honest. In general, I do not believe that this can happen in the near future, that they will release me. That I will be home again.

– Today, for the first time this winter, snow fell in Russia. You probably won’t see such weather in Israel?

“I often go to New York.” Snow is not uncommon there.

– How do you like the Russian prison? You were serving your military service in the Israeli army – are the orders easier there?

– There you are proud that you are repaying a debt to the Motherland. And here, to be honest, it’s a shame. Perhaps, at large, I still write a book about how I sat in Russia. But in general, I do not think about what will happen next. Perhaps I’ll go to study (I never entered the university) or again I will be a yoga instructor. The main thing is to return home.

PS According to news agencies, after a meeting with Naama Issakhar Tatyana Moskalkova said that she was not going to write a petition to the president for clemency or parole, since the girl was unable to make this decision on her own and believes that the requests of the Israeli leadership and her mother are completely enough to let her out.

By the way, the Israeli media finally became aware of the family of Naama Issahar. “Good and decent” – as it was recommended to Putin. The girl is the native niece of one of the three drivers serving the head of the Israeli government, the famous Israeli journalist Ben Caspit said on air of 103FM radio station. According to him, we are talking about Asher Issahar, who has been working as the driver of Benjamin Netanyahu for the past twenty years. Asher is the brother of Matan Issahar, the father of Naama Issahar.


The history of the Alexander Compound began more than 160 years ago when a small piece of land in the Old City of Jerusalem was bought by the Russian consul. Then no monastery was planned in the Alexander Compound, the building was bought for purely practical purposes: there was an idea (not implemented. – Auth. ) To create a consulate right in the very center of the city. So imperial Russia is the owner of a valuable historical building a few steps from the Church of the Holy Sepulcher.

Over the years since that moment, the Alexander Compound managed to become a landmark and even acquire its own shrine: during excavations on its territory, the Doomsday Threshold was found. It is believed that it was he who was led by Jesus Christ led to Calvary.

Russia recalled its rights to the farmstead relatively recently: in 2015, Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev signed an order to tackle the issue of Russia’s return of land rights 70 meters from the Church of the Holy Sepulcher. According to rumors, Patriarch Kirill himself initiated this. On December 30, 2019, Israel transferred the rights to the Alexander Metochion in Jerusalem.

Dmitry Gulyaev