Israeli American receives lengthy Russian prison term for pot smuggling

Israeli American Naama Issachar, 25, received a 7½-year prison sentence after being convicted of smuggling marijuana into Russia, JTA reported.

The Israeli army veteran was sentenced by a Moscow court on Oct. 11. She was detained in April after nine grams of marijuana — less than a third of an ounce — was found in her luggage. Issachar denied the marijuana was hers.

An initial possession of cannabis charge, which carries a fine and a month of detention, was later changed to narcotics smuggling.

Haaretzreported that Russia offered to exchange Issachar for Russia hacker Aleksey Burkov, who is being held in Israel and is set to be extradited to the United States.

Issachar’s family has asked Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to help her.

New home sales up sharply in Israel

New home sales in Israel were up 52% in August, compared to the same month in 2018, Globes reported, citing Central Bureau of Statistics data.

There were 2,680 new homes sold in August, and 8,160 new homes were sold in June-August 2019 — 50% more than in the same period last year and an 11% increase over the preceding three months.

Cities with the most homes sold were Harish (436), Or Akiva (434) and Beer Sheva (407), followed by Tel Aviv and Jerusalem with 381 homes sold apiece and Ramat Gat at 378.

Ancient city found in northern Israel

Archaeological excavations in northern Israel unearthed a 5,000-year-old city that may have once been home to up to 6,000 residents, JTA reported.

The Israel Antiquities Authority said it is one of the first and largest Bronze Age settlements ever excavated in the country.

“This is the Early Bronze Age New York of our region — a cosmopolitan and planned city where thousands of inhabitants lived,” Itai Elad, Yitzhak Paz and Dina Shalem, directors of the excavation, said in a statement.

The excavations — which have been ongoing for 2½ years — were occurring in preparation to build a highway off-ramp to the new city of Harish. Deeper excavations showed the city was built over a 7,000-year-old settlement.

The settlement will be preserved, with the interchange built above the ruins. JN

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