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Israeli woman who crossed into Syria sentenced to 8 months in jail

The Israeli woman who crossed into Syria and was returned in a deal brokered by Russia, in a photo shown by Channel 12 on February 20, 2021. (Channel 12 screenshot)
The Israeli woman who crossed into Syria and was returned in a deal brokered by Russia, in a photo shown by Channel 12 on February 20, 2021. (Channel 12 screenshot)

An Israeli woman who walked across the border into Syria in early February and was returned later that month after a flurry of international negotiations is sentenced to eight months in prison at the Nazareth Magistrate’s Court.

The woman, whose identity is barred from publication, has reportedly suffered from mental ill-health in the past.

Her lawyers thank the court for taking their arguments on her mental health into account and giving her a “moderate, proportionate” sentence.

She is reported to be a 25-year-old from Modiin Illit who left the ultra-Orthodox community. It is unclear why she entered Syria. She apparently crossed at a less-monitored part of the border fence, on foot and on her own.

The Axios news site, citing Israeli officials, has said the woman studied Arabic and in the past had been prevented from crossing the southern border into the Gaza Strip.

The woman was returned to Israel via Russia on February 19, in a deal brokered by Moscow. As part of the deal, Israel released several Syrian nationals in its custody and reportedly financed the purchase of $1.2 million worth of Russian-made COVID-19 vaccines for Syrian use.

After the woman was returned, she reportedly told Israeli investigators that she had been “seeking adventure.” According to Channel 12, she did not apologize or express regret for the trip. Investigators determined that she did not cooperate with any enemy entities while in Syria.

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