One year after more than a thousand imprisoned PA terrorists were exchanged for a single IDF soldier, Arabs say life has returned to “normal.”
For some that has meant returning to the families, fields and jobs they had before they were persuaded to join the terror groups that got them into trouble.
For others, it means exactly the opposite: a return to their terrorist activities that sent them to prison: planning attacks against Israel and murdering Jews.
Their release from prison sparked huge celebrations in Judea, Samaria and Gaza, yet life “quickly returned to normal after most of them returned to their families,” AFP reported.
Not so for the young IDF soldier whose life was purchased with their freedom, however. After languishing in captivity under the hands of Hamas terrorists for more than five years, IDF Cpl. Gilad Shalit was returned emaciated and in poor health.
One year later, retired from military service, he picked up a pen to become a sports columnist for an Israeli newspaper. The move comes as a follow-up to a natural inclination he had from his youth, and one that kept him alive throughout his harrowing ordeal in Gaza.
An avid basketball fan since childhood, Shalit told Channel 10 television in an interview to be broadcast this week that he kept himself sane during captivity by devising games in his mind.
“I would make a ball out of socks or a shirt, and throw it into the rubbish bin,” he said, according to excerpts of a transcript of the interview, published by the Hebrew-language daily newspaper Yediot Acharanot.
But he works hard to avoid the public eye.
This week he made sure to be out of the country on a private trip to the United States during this first year's anniversary of the exchange deal that freed hundreds of murderers who were serving life sentences for spilling Jewish blood in Israel.
"He is trying to live his life, to make up for lost time, to go out with his friends and discover the world,” his father Noam told AFP.
The younger Shalit is slowly recovering from his traumatic experience, his father said. “It was not the same Gilad that we found, but he is feeling good, and he is slowly returning to normal life. He is more open and more sociable than he was at the outset,” he said, adding, “He hopes to start studying next year and regain some anonymity.”