Daily Israel Report

PM Envoy: Gilad Was Weak, Thin and Pale

David Meidan recalls the first moments with Gilad Shalit after he was released.
By Elad Benari, Canada
First Publish: 10/19/2011, 8:05 PM

Shimon Peres and David  Meidan
Shimon Peres and David  Meidan
Flash 90

David Meidan, the Prime Minister’s special envoy for the negotiations for the release of Gilad Shalit, described in an interview with the Yediot Achronot newspaper the moment that he first met Shalit after he had been transferred from Gaza to Egypt.

“I approached him gently and told him: ‘I’m David, we came to take you home to mom and dad,’” Meidan said in the interview which was published Wednesday. “I held him for a long time and I explained to him that he was safe now. He said quietly: ‘I’m glad you came.’”

“He spoke to the point and knew what was going on,” Meidan added. “He was puzzled by all the commotion around him and held me tight. It appeared that this gave him confidence after all he had been through.”

Meidan, who noted that Gilad looked very thin and pale, said that during the drive from Egypt to the Amitai Base, he told Gilad that the entire country was waiting for him and that many efforts were made to secure his release.

“I kept telling him: ‘Gilad, you're in good hands. Very soon you’ll see your parents, your family, your grandfather Tzvi who was waiting for you the entire time you were held in captivity,’” said Meidan.

“I prepared him for the fact that scores of people were waiting for him in Mitzpe Hila and that he would undergo a series of medical tests,” he added. “Hesitantly, he kept asking me when he would see his mother and father.”

“He was very weak,” Meidan recalled. “At first he mostly listened and kept smiling. When we started to talk he said the first period in captivity was the worst and only later was he allowed to listen to the radio and watch Arab television stations.”

(Arutz Sheva’s North American Desk is keeping you updated until the start of Shmini Atzeret and Simchat Torah in New York. The time posted automatically on all Arutz Sheva articles, however, is Israeli time.)