Freed captive Gilad Shalit, an IDF soldier who was kidnapped by Hamas and held incommunicado for over 5 years, visited Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu Thursday and thanked him for securing his release. He was accopmanied by his parents, Noam and Aviva Shalit. The conversation went thus:
Prime Minister: How are you?
Gilad Shalit: Fine
PM: You look great. Really great. You were… you've gained a little, right?
Gilad: Yes, I gained a little. Six kilos.
PM: Six kilos? You still have some more room…
Gilad: There is some, but not much.
PM: Overall, you are feeling good?
Gilad: Overall, yes.
PM: Getting better? That's important.
PM: I see that you have been going to basketball games.
Gilad: I went to one. And I went to one in the United States, too. The All-Stars.
PM: You're back home. Returning to life.
You are recovering well, right? It is just great to see him. I am very happy.
And what do you plan to do? Are you planning your time, or are you in processes…
Gilad: I am supposed to be released from the army soon.
PM: Mazal tov…
Aviva: We came to say thank you – this is from us.
PM: Should I open it?
Aviva: Of course.
PM: From the Hula Reserve… drawings of the Hula…
Gilad: We went there.
The book bore a handwritten dedication:
To the Prime Minister, Mr. Binyamin Netanyahu – impressions from the Hula Valley and the world of birds and water fowl that symbolize freedom and liberty that have no substitute, from Gilad and the Shalit family.
Gilad: On this occasion I want to thank you… I did not have the opportunity… when I landed I was very excited… I am very glad to meet you, and that in the end you succeeded in bringing me back.
PM: I congratulate you on your release from the IDF. And I wish you a happy Holiday of Liberation [Pesach].
Aviva Shalit: Hence the timing of the visit.
PM:I think it gets a new character and special meaning. An exodus from Egypt… or let's call it an exodus from Gaza. From slavery to freedom and from darkness to light, in the fullest sense. And I am glad that you are proving that you are getting over everything. It was great. Just great. Happy Holiday of Liberty.