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(photo credit: Channel 2)
Noam Schalit, father of captured IDF soldier Gilad Schalit, was set to fly out to Rome on Wednesday for a series of meetings with Italian officials.
Among others, Schalit will meet Italian Foreign Minister Franco Frattini and Rome Mayor Gianni Alemanno, with whom he toured Sderot in May as a rocket slammed into the western Negev town.
Meanwhile, Brig. Gen. (Res.) Hezi Meshita, announced Wednesday that he was standing down from heading the public campaign for Schalit's release.
Meshita decided to devote more time to his private businesses, but said he would still help with the efforts to secure the soldier's release.
The decision was expected, since Mashita had set himself a target of until end of the previous government's term to help secure Schalit's release. He told Army Radio that he had done all he could, but that unfortunately, he had not succeeded.
Noam Schalit said that "his activities brought wide support among the Israeli public and decision-makers."
Shimshon Livman, a Schalit family friend from their neighborhood of Mizpe Hila, will take over from Meshita.