Barak meets with Gilad Schalit's grandfather during a Yad Lebanim event

Tzvi Schalit, the grandfather of abducted soldier Gilad Schalit, met Sunday evening with Defense Minister Ehud Barak. The meeting between the two took place during an event held by the Yad Lebanim soldier's memorial organization at the Herzliya Performing Arts center. Tzvi Schalit is himself a bereaved father - Gilad's father Noam had a twin brother who died in the Yom Kippur War - and he once served as a chairman of the organization's branch in Kiryat Ata. Aides for Barak said that a positive and friendly atmosphere pervaded the ten-minute meeting, during which the minister reportedly updated Schalit on the latest developments concerning his grandson. Schalit said that he "thank[s] the defense minister for the encouragement [he] received from [Barak] this evening." Last week, Barak drew criticism when he advised students during a speech at a school "not to whine and not to be spineless." The remark was made in response to protests over the government's handling of the Schalit affair. Noam Schalit had responded to Barak's statement by saying that his family "expects less talk, less statements and more actions."