Participants at last year's annual "Cycling for Peace" outing, which was dedicated to Gilad Shalit, scarcely expected that the then-captive IDF soldier would take part in this year's race.
But on May 4, Shalit will be the one to lead 35-km ride, which is set to depart from his home in Mitzpe Hila and continue to the Lily Sharon Park in Acre.
This would be Shalit's first opportunity to meet the crowds who closely followed the struggle for his release from Hamas captivity. After being jailed in Gaza for over five years, he was set free in a prisoner swap in October.
Gilad's father, Noam Shalit, confirmed the soldier's participation with the Acre Municipality, which is organizing the event. Acre's sports department, the city's International Center for Peace and other organizations are sponsoring the outing as well.
Shalit is to receive a honorary plaque at the conclusion of the event.
"Last year's race called for Gilad's release, so this year we're proud to hold an event with his participation," Acre Mayor Shimon Lankry said.