French President Nicolas Sarkozy sent Gilad Schalit a personal letter on Tuesday, in which he told the newly released captive, “I salute your courage.”
"I wish to salute you today on the courage you displayed during the difficult time you went through, to express to you the deep joy and excitement we all feel now."
"The citizens of France are all delighted to learn that you are returning to your home in Mitzpe Hila. I want you to know how much I admire your parents, Noam and Aviva. They serve as an example to us all. France never forgot you,” wrote Sarkozy.
France’s Ambassador to Israel Christophe Bigot personally delivered the letter to Gilad at his Mitzpe Hila home, at the tail end of a long day, in which the young man returned to Israel after five years of captivity in Gaza.
Although Gilad was born in Israel, he holds dual Israeli-French citizenship, and France was a strong advocate on his behalf, while he was held by Hamas in Gaza.