Peres: I'm optimistic Gilad will return home alive

To mark Pessah, president visits captive's parents at tent outside PM's house for 1st time; "entire nation united in bringing Schalit home."

Schalits and Peres 311 (photo credit: Meital Jaslovitz  )
Schalits and Peres 311
(photo credit: Meital Jaslovitz )
President Shimon Peres on Monday visited Aviva and Noam Schalit at their tent in Jerusalem outside the prime minister's house and said that he believes their son, captive IDF soldier Gilad Schalit, who has been in Hamas captivity for close to five years, will return home alive.
"I feel myself on the side of the family. I am optimistic this time and convinced with all my soul that we will see Gilad alive and well at home," Peres said.
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The president went on to say that "the entire nation is united and we first and foremost think about bringing Gilad home."
"I am proud of the family and Gilad," Peres continued. "I feel, just as the entire nation does, that this issue should occupy our thoughts every day."
Aviva and Noam Schalit and dozens of other protesters demonstrated outside of the weekly cabinet meeting in Jerusalem on Sunday, demanding that the government advance efforts to release their son.
Ministers who arrived by car at the meeting were greeted by demonstrators, who stayed outside of the government compound until the end of the session.
Greer Fay Cashman contributed to this report.