Gilad Shalit and his father Noam met with French Ambassador to Israel Christophe Bigot in Tel Aviv on Wednesday. The two handed the envoy a letter to be delivered to French President Nicolas Sarkozy in which Shalit thanks the president for "his endless efforts in bringing about" Gilad's release.
Talking to Bigot, Shalit explained he was going through a rehabilitation process. "I am undergoing all the medical procedures. I had an operation, and am doing physical therapy, working with my fingers."
Shalit thanked Sarkozy and the French people for the efforts they made along the years to speed up his release and the support they gave him and his family.
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"I want to thank you with all my heart for the unlimited support you have given me and your ongoing efforts to bring about my release," the letter stated.
Shalit wrote he felt grateful and proud to learn that Sarkozy defended him as the "son of France."
'His story touched us all'
Bigot said at the end of the meeting: "Gilad's personal story has touched us all as did his parents' perseverance and determination."
"He still needs to do physical therapy on his left hand. Considering the fact he suffered such a trauma, his condition now, less than three months later, is great but it'll take him much longer to completely overcome it."
Bigot said that the French people, himself included, have dreamed of seeing Shalit released for years. "To see him as a young person filled with hopes and plans for the future is a message of hope. He is thinking about what he'll do in the future but that's for him to tell you. We must respect his privacy."
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