Gilad Schalit smiles outside his Mitzpe Hila home 311 (R).
(photo credit: REUTERS/Nir Elias)
Minister Binyamin Netanyahu said he's "happy to see Gilad Schalit begining
to return to [his] routine," speaking with Colombian Foreign Minister
Maria Angela Holguin on Wednesday.
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Schalit, who was released from Hamas captivity the day before, began his recovery and return to normal life on Wednesday morning after having slept in his bed in Mitzpe Hila for the first time in more than five years.
Noam Schalit said that his son Gilad was feeling well, and that he had slept through the night, Israel Radio reported Wednesday, adding that the family was working on getting back to normal.
At the same time, Schalit was seen going for a walk outside his home with his mother, Aviva. He didn't speak to reporters.
Schalit spent his first night at home with his family following his return from captivity
in Gaza on Tuesday, in an exchange which saw Israel release 477
of a total 1,027 Palestinian prisoners that will eventually be granted their freedom as part of a deal signed with Hamas.
French Ambassador to Israel Christophe Bigot visited Schalit and his family on Tuesday night, delivering the freed captive a message from French President Nicolas Sarkozy. Sarkozy told the dual Israeli-French citizen that he was "overjoyed" to hear the news of his release.
IDF and Defense Ministry medical professionals were scheduled to visit Schalit throughout the day on Wednesday and in the coming days to help aid in his recovery.
Police decided to close off the street the Schalits reside on in Mitzpe
Hila during the coming week in order to provide the family privacy
during Gilad's recovery. Dozens of police officers were deployed in the
area and had made preparations to evacuate Schalit to the hospital in
nearby Nahariya or to a hospital in central Israel to receive more
specialized treatment if the need were to arise.
Overnight Tuesday, an IDF doctor as well as an expert in caring for
soldiers suffering from trauma were already deployed near the Schalit
home in case of emergency, Channel 10 reported.
While Schalit appeared skinny and pale, according to IDF estimates
he received regular amounts of food while in Hamas captivity. His pale
and skinny appearance is understood to be the result of the mental
pressure he had been under during the five years and four months of his
In the coming weeks, military intelligence will begin meeting with
Schalit to debrief him on his experiences and to try to glean
information that could be useful for Israel. One question that will
likely come up is whether Schalit was aware of Ahmed Jabari’s
involvement in his captivity. Jabari appeared on Egyptian TV on Tuesday
accompanying Schalit to the Rafah Crossing.
In addition, Israel will want to learn about his routine, his captors
and where he was kept. Defense officials said the debriefing would only
begin after medical authorities gave the green light.
Yaakov Katz contributed to this report.