Gilad schalit and Sarkozy 390.
(photo credit: REUTERS)
Gilad Schalit, the IDF soldier held in Hamas captivity for five years before
being released in October, was welcomed by French President Nicolas Sarkozy to
the Elysee Palace in Paris on Wednesday.
Schalit, freed as part of a deal
that saw 1,027 Palestinian prisoners released from Israeli jails, is also a
This was his first trip abroad since being
Schalit’s parents, Aviva and Noam, who last month announced his
to run for the Knesset as part of the Labor Party, accompanied their
son on the trip to France.
While Schalit made no statement to the press,
AFP quoted Noam as saying, “We are very pleased to be here at the Elysee Palace
and we thank President Nicolas Sarkozy and the team at the Elysee for their
efforts and commitment” for the release of Gilad, “we are very
Sarkozy actively lobbied for Schalit’s release while the soldier
was held captive.
The French embassy in Tel Aviv released a statement
saying Sarkozy told Schalit he appreciated the “exemplary courage” he exhibited
during his intolerable incarceration.
Sarkozy also praised Schalit’s
parents for their “determination and courage” when facing their “painful and
Upon his release in October, French Ambassador to
Israel Christophe Bigot was one of Schalit’s first visitors at his family’s home
in Mitzpe Hila.Herb Keinon contributed to this report.
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