Shalit. 'Long way to go'
Photo: Yaron Brener

Shalit thanks Sarkozy for release efforts

Gilad Shalit, father Noam meet French ambassador in Tel Aviv, present him with letter to President Nicolas Sarkozy thanking him for his efforts for Gilad's release

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.


"Mr President, I'm aware of your great contribution to my release. I shall be forever grateful for that extraordinary, firm and uncompromising commitment," Shalit wrote.


Shalit noted he was aware of Sarkozy's determination to free him since he came into office. "I know you assertively denounced the illegality of my being held captive and that you stressed it was hurting a French-Israeli citizen, but above all – a human being.
"Every year on the anniversary of my abduction and on every symbolic day that followed during my time in captivity, you repeated your personal commitment and France's commitment to my release. When I learned of this, I found it very encouraging."

Shalit wrote he felt grateful and proud to learn that Sarkozy defended him as the "son of France."


"The Elysee Palace doors were always open to my parents, and France's ambassador to Israel accompanied my family during all those long years until the day he handed me your letter, which moved me deeply."


'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 noted that Gilad was still recuperating and trying to return to normal life. "I saw him on the day we was freed in Mitzpe Hila. He was much more relaxed now than the last time I saw him. He can hold a full conversation with people but there's still a long way to go.


"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."




פרסום ראשון: 01.11.12, 17:28
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