The blinds in his room, which faces the street, have been opened for the first time in years. His mother Aviva is airing out the NBA shirts, and family members are preparing photo albums, letters and press clippings documenting their struggle for his release.
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Ohad Kaner, who has been at the family's side, living with them in the protest tent over the last year, described the happy atmosphere but added: "The family is being careful not to get too excited and is waiting for the final stage of the deal for Gilad's release. Personally I can say that I've never heard Aviva and Noam laugh so much, real laughter that comes from the stomach and from the heart."
Since their return home, the family have been busy making it "livable" after over a year of living in the Jerusalem protest tent.
Airing out family home - Aviva Shalit (Photo: Avishag Shaar-Yashuv)
The Shalit family has also been receiving many visitors at their home. On Thursday night Karnit Goldwasser, whose husband Ehud was killed on the northern border and his body returned as part of the a prisoner exchange deal with Hezbollah, visited the family.
IDF Chief of Staff Lieutenant-General Benny Gantz also visited the family with the Head of the IDF Personnel Directorate Major-General Orna Barbivai to share the details of the release process.
On Friday morning Azam Azam, who was imprisoned in Egypt for eight years also arrived in Mitzpe Hila. He shared the many difficulties of returning to normal life after an extended period with no connection to the outside world.
Azam Azam visits Shalit family (Photo: Avishag Shaar-Yashuv)
"It is really very difficult to get back to normal life and get back to family life," he explained, adding: "It never leaves you; it becomes part of your life. It stays with every person who was in prison, with every captive; it's very hard to get back to normal life."
Azam, who came to lend his support and express his happiness at their good news. "This is a wonderful family, an exemplary family who for every day, every minute and every second thought of their son. After five years, sadly it's gone on for a long time, here are the results and Gilad is coming home," Azam said.
"I came to rejoice with them. It reminded me of my days in prison, it reminded me of my release," he added.
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