Five days after his son Gilad was captured by Palestinian terrorists near Kerem Shalom, Noam Shalit told reporters Thursday that it was hard to maintain optimism in the absence of hard proof that he was still alive.
"As long as we don't receive any living proof that Gilad is unharmed, we have nothing to hold on to other than rumors that haven't been proven at this point. We know without a doubt that time is not playing to our advantage, but rather against us. We are not certain of anything," said Shalit, whose 19-year-old son has been missing in action since he was wounded in an attack on his tank Sunday morning, and captured by his attackers. Although the IDF reported Sunday that Gilad was alive when he was captured, no signs of life have been offered by his captors.
The Shalit family continued what has become an agonizing routine Thursday, hosting high-ranking political and military well-wishers. As in previous days, Gilad's mother remained hidden from cameras in the family's Givat Hila home. Meanwhile, Gilad's father Noam retains his role as family spokesman, addressing reporters in Hebrew and in English and appealing to his son's captors to release information about Gilad's status. As he spoke calmly and evenly to gathered reporters, black sunglasses hid the emotion in his eyes.
"We are all humans, and I hope that Gilad's captors also will prove that they are human beings. Until now, we have not received from them any sign or proof of life, but we hope to receive one in the near future," he said.
On Thursday, Gilad's company commander and battalion commander, Lt.-Col. Yoav, visited the family, telling them that Gilad's company has remained in Gaza, taking part in the operations to locate their missing comrade. "This is a strong family and I have come to say that the battalion stands together with them. We will do everything and are doing everything in order to bring Gilad home," he said.
Noam Shalit expressed confidence in the military and political decision-making behind the recent incursion into the Gaza Strip, telling the press that he wants "to allow the government to continue the process that they've undertaken. It is clear that it is impossible to decide something on the spot. We are in constant communication with people in the army and in the government, and we trust and are certain that the steps that are being taken now were weighed carefully, with the emphasis on preventing injury to innocent civilians on both sides."
Even as the Shalits continued to face uncertainty as to their son's fate, Noam Shalit took a minute to address the Asheri family, who found out Thursday that their son, Eliahu, was shot and killed by his Palestinian captors after being kidnapped Sunday night.
"We express our sorrow at [Asheri's] death and send our condolences to his family. I, as a parent, turn to parents and ask them to take care of their children, and this request is especially meant for parents living in Judea and Samaria," said Shalit.