Gilad Schalit in video 311 (R).
(photo credit: Reuters)
IDF Chief of General Staff Lt.-Gen. Benny Gantz appointed a team of intelligence
officers on Wednesday to review information collected in the Gilad Schalit case
and search for new leads that could bring the abducted soldier’s
The team will be led by Col. (res.) Lior Lotan, a former team
commander in the General Staff Reconnaissance Unit – better known as Sayeret
Matkal. He received an IDF Medal of Valor for his participation in the 1994
attempt to rescue Nachshon Wachsman, a soldier kidnapped by Hamas and killed in
the rescue attempt.
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Lotan later served as commander of the IDF’s hostage
negotiation unit and as head of the Military Intelligence unit responsible for
locating missing IDF soldiers.
On Wednesday, the head of the IDF Manpower
Directorate, Maj.-Gen. Orna Barbivai, met with Schalit’s parents, Aviva and
Noam, and informed them of Gantz’s decision to establish the team.
sources said Lotan’s team would work in coordination with the Shin Bet (Israel
Security Agency), the Mossad and the mediator appointed by the Prime Minister’s
Office. It will review all of the intelligence information collected by the
military and Shin Bet so far and search for new clues and leads.
team will look at what has been done and see if something could have been done
differently or if something was missed,” one source explained. “The work will be
synchronized with the rest of the teams that are already working on the Schalit
While the establishment of the team seemed to indicate a possible
effort by the IDF to create a new option to rescue Schalit, defense officials
said that it would assist the political echelon which has been debating a
potential prisoner swap with Hamas.
Former chief of General Staff
Lt.-Gen. (res.) Gabi Ashkenazi and former Shin Bet chief Yuval Diskin
both recently expressed disappointment with their failure to secure Schalit’s
release before their terms expired earlier this year.