'Gilad, I hope to light the first candle with you'

"Gilad, I hope to light the first candle of Hanukah with you," an emotional Noam Shalit answered when asked by reporters in Paris what message he would like to send to his son Gilad, the IDF soldier held hostage by Hamas since a cross-border raid on June 25th. During the news conference, Noam Shalit called on European leaders to assist in convincing the Palestinians to come to an agreement with Israel on a prisoner exchange. The Shalit family, along with the families of Eldad Regev and Ehud Golwasser, the two IDF reservists held by Hizbullah, are on a tour of European countries that is meant to bolster diplomatic support for the release of their loved ones. "The Israeli government is ready to give much, but the Hamas leadership in Damascus is intentionally preventing the prisoner swap," Noam said. "I hope that European leaders will succeed in hurrying the return home of Gilad." Noam Shalit added that he has had no new information regarding his son's fate. "Stay Strong, Gilad. We will not stop to fight and struggle until you are free, and Udi and Eldad are released. I hope to see you soon," Noam said.