(photo credit: Courtesy Sheba Medical Center, Tel Hashomer)
Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu credited his wife, Sara, for pushing him to execute the prisoner exchange that released Gilad Schalit from captivity in October.
“She was probably the most influential factor in my decision to bring about the release of Gilad Schalit and he has been fine since then,” Netanyahu told the German newspaper Bild.
Netanyahu’s comments will appear in Bild on Sunday.
“It was a tough decision, but we value every life. Our enemies celebrate death, that’s why they think we are weak. They are wrong. We love life but we are also ready to defend our lives,” he said.
Schalit was kidnapped along the Gaza border at age 19 in June 2006 and held by Hamas until his release over five years later in exchange for 1,027 prisoners.
Netanyahu said that Sara, “was the one who told me, think of that boy Gilad Schalit. Think of that boy in that dark dungeon, having no hope, no light. Think of him as if he were our son.
Think of him, his mother, his father, and then make the decision.”
In general, the prime minister said that his wife gives him tremendous support and is the cornerstone of their family.
“She doesn’t really get into the policy decisions, except that she tells me you have to take care of old people and Holocaust survivors – because of her experience with her own family,” Netanyahu said.
“She brought her father here, took care of him, because she didn’t want to send him off to a home for the aged.”
He added: “She brings much warmth and also the wisdom of the heart. And she is providing perspective to me in terms of overall direction, saying, look at what unites, look at what gives hope to people, look at what raises people’s aspirations, their goals for the future.”
Netanyahu said that he and his wife speak about everything from ideas to the practical details of how to raise their children.
“The children help me study the Bible. I am not a religious man in the Orthodox way, but I have a great affinity for the Jewish religion, culture and history. Every Saturday I read with my son parts of the Bible, I used to teach him, but around the age of 13 that was reversed and now he is teaching me. So we have these conversations, that give me strength: the strength of family, the strength of a warm home,” Netanyahu said.