Noam Shalit, father of newly returned IDF soldier Gilad Shalit, thanked the crowds outside his home in Mitzpe Hila for their support, and told them that Gilad, who returned to his family late Tuesday afternoon, had several small injuries, and had apparently been kept inside for an extended period.
“As you no doubt realize we today come to the end of a long and exhausting journey that began in June 2006 and ended after four years and four months in October 2011,” Noam Shalit told the crowd.
“Gilad is returning home after a long and difficult struggle. It was a struggle against sealed walls, a battle against windmills, but in the end we succeeded in bringing him home. As you saw, he went down the steps into his home as he left it that last time, and entered the door he exited 1,942 days ago,” Shalit said.
He told well-wishers that Gilad was suffering from a number of light injuries that had not been treated for the past five years. “Gilad feels good. He is suffering from injuries caused by shards, and from a lack of sunlight. He will be treated by the IDF, which has already examined him. Gilad is happy to be home, but obviously it would be difficult for him to be exposed to large crowds right now, considering he has been in isolation for so long,” Noam Shalit said.”