MOSCOW - Sources close to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said on Wednesday that the release of the young Israeli woman who is serving a prison sentence in Russia, Naama Issachar will "take time" despite his efforts to bring her back.
"In his statement yesterday, Prime Minister Netanyahu said he was committed to bringing Naama home," the source said. "It will take time. We are holding talks over this issue and the Prime Minister is committed to it and isn't letting up."
Netanyahu, speaking in a Likud activists conference in Haifa on Tuesday, promised that Issachar will return to Israel.
Meanwhile, 46 Israeli civilians who landed on an El Al flight at Moscow's Domodedovo Airport on Wednesday were detained and had their passports confiscated.
Most Israeli passengers on the flight, including children, were taken aside to a pre-prepared area, with Russian security personnel performing a slow questioning process for everyone. After eight hours, all 46 Israeli passengers had been released.
State officials believed that the Israelis' detention was intended to send a message to Jerusalem ahead of the arrival of a Russian consular delegation on Thursday to discuss the facilitation of the entry of Russian nationals into Israel.
The group of Russian envoys will consist of senior officials from Russia's foreign ministry and immigration and border guard authorities.
The Foreign Ministry said that the Israeli delegates will seek explanations from their Russian counterparts on the detention of the Israelis as well as the release of Issachar.
The Russian Embassy in Isra
el responded to the incident at the Moscow airport, blaming Israel for refusing thousands of Russian nationals from entering the country.
"5,771 Russian tourists were not allowed to enter Israel in 2019," an embassy official said. "Every day about 20 Russian tourists arriving in Israel on an organized trip are detained and sent back to Russia. The Russian side does not respond to relevant Israeli authorities' decisions."