Low-key ceremony planned for Schalit’s return

Gilad Schalit to be returned to his family Tuesday; day will not be celebratory for many families of terror victims.

October 17, 2011 05:52
1 minute read.
Gilad Schalit

Gilad Schalit 311. (photo credit: Courtesy)


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Not wanting to offend the families of terror victims, as well as concern about not overwhelming Gilad Schalit, are the reasons for the simple ceremony the government is planning for the kidnapped soldier’s expected return on Tuesday.

One government official, who took part in a meeting Sunday planning the logistics for the day of Schalit’s anticipated return, said the government was keenly aware that Tuesday will be anything but a day of celebration for many of the families of victims killed by terrorists to be released in the 1,127:1 swap.

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In planning how Schalit will be greeted, the official said the government was guided by the need to balance happiness for the Schalit family, with a need to show understanding and compassion for the pain that will be felt by thousands of people whose loved ones were killed in attacks perpetrated by the prisoners to be released that day.

“This is not a time for celebration,” the official said. “It is a time of being thankful that Schalit is out with his family, but also a time of sympathy and empathy with the families of the terror victims.”

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, Defense Minister Ehud Barak and Chief of General Staff Lt.-Gen. Benny Gantz are expected to greet Schalit briefly at the Tel Nof air force base near Rehovot, where he will be reunited with his family.

Few details of that ceremony have been released, with one official saying this is partly because it will be necessary to see what kind of medical condition Schalit is in before determining the type of ceremony to hold.

Netanyahu is expected on Tuesday, either at the ceremony for Schalit or somewhere else that day, to address the pain being felt by the families of terror victims.


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