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      Gilad Shalit Receives Honorary NYC Welcome

      Gilad Shalit met with New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, marking the sixth anniversary of his capture.
      By Rachel Hirshfeld
      First Publish: 6/26/2012, 9:57 PM

      Gilad Shalit
      Gilad Shalit
      Israel news photo: Flash 90

      Gilad Shalit met with New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg and City Council speaker Christine C. Quinn at City Hall on Monday, marking the sixth anniversary of his capture.

      Bloomberg, who has vigorously supported efforts to secure GIlad’s release, marched arm in arm with Aviva and Noam Shalit in the 2009 Salute to Israel, wearing a button imprinted with a picture of the young Israeli soldier.

      During his October 2011 trip to Israel, days after Gilad’s release, Bloomberg defended Israel’s decision to surrender 1,027 Palestinian prisoners for his freedom.

      “I just know that the government of Israel had to make a decision and they didn’t walk away from the decision, they made one, and that’s what governing is all about,” Bloomberg told reporters in Jerusalem at the time.

      Gilad was passing through New York en route to the European soccer championships, which are being held in Poland and the Ukraine.

      He didn’t say much during the five-minute ceremony, other than to mention that the NBA finals were “not bad,” and he smiled when Mayor Bloomberg said that he wished that a New York team had made the finals, The New York Times reported.

      He also smiled when Mr. Bloomberg showed him a photo, on his iPad of the mayor with Shalit’s parents.

      Together, Bloomberg and Quinn presented Mr. Shalit with a crystal apple, donated by Tiffany’s.