Gilad Shalit's parents are concerned by the images of their son, as seen in the Hamas videotape Friday, the captured soldier's father said Friday night during a brief statement.
"Aviva and I are concerned in the face of the images we saw," Noam Shalit told the numerous media representatives gathered outside the family home in northern Israel. "We must not forget that Gilad is suffering and rotting in the Hamas prison."
Gilad's father added that family members expect Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to continue working towards securing the soldier's release.
"We thank the negotiating team headed by Hagai Hadas," Noam Shalit said. "At the same time, the family expects negotiations to continue determinedly until Gilad can go back home."
Noam Shalit's statement marked the family's first response to the tape.
'Hello, this is Gilad'
After 1,195 days in captivity, Gilad Shalit was seen for the first time in a Hamas videotape released for publication Friday afternoon.
The roughly two-and-a-half minute video shows Gilad facing the camera. The captive soldier holds a newspaper from September 14th and appears to be in sound mental condition.
In the tape, Shalit says: "Hello, this is Gilad, son of Noam and Aviva Shalit, brother of Hadas and Yoel, who lives in Mitzpe Hila. My ID number is 397029. As you can see I am holding today's Falasteen newspaper published in Gaza. I read the newspaper in order to find information about myself, and in hopes of reading about information of my return home and my imminent release."
Gilad then continues: "I hope the current government headed by Benjamin Netanyahu doesn't waste this opportunity to reach an agreement and as a result, allow me to fulfill my dream and be released."
Addressing his parents and siblings, Gilad says: "I wish to send my well-wishes to my family and tell them that I love them and miss them greatly, and hope for the day I'll see them again. Dad, Yoel, and Hadas, do you remember the day you arrived at my base in the Golan Heights, on December 31, 2005? We toured around the base and you took a picture of me on a Merkava tank and on one of the old tanks at the entrance to the base. Later we went to a restaurant in one of the Druze villages and on the way we took pictures on the side of the road, against the backdrop of the snowy Hermon Mountain."
"I want to tell you that I feel well in medical terms, and that the Mujahidin from the al-Qassam Brigades are treating me excellently. Thank you very much and goodbye," Gilad concludes.
Gilad's parents, Noam and Aviva, watched the tape privately in their home earlier in the day, and later granted the Prime Minister's Office permission to publicize it.
Ahiya Raved contributed to the report