Gilad Schalit thanked supporters and activists who worked for his release, speaking in a recorded video statement played at an activists’ reunion held at Kibbutz Shefayim, north of Tel Aviv, on Saturday evening.“I’m pleased to have the opportunity to speak to you and to thank you for all that you did throughout the years of my captivity. During my time in captivity I heard much about your activism for my release, and of course, also after I returned home,” the freed soldier began.“I’m sure that I will still hear much more about the long and exhausting journey that you began in 2006 and continued without giving up, despite the difficulties, up and down, hopes and disappointments until the desired end on October 18,” he said.RELATED:Behind the scenes: How the Schalit deal came aboutSchalit story an intelligence failure“I know without a doubt that your determined, continued struggle for my release, each according to his own ability, the perseverance and support of my family, throughout the long road, constituted one of the decisive factors that contributed to the decision to bring me home. I want to thank you this evening for all this, from the bottom of my heart, and to tell you that I am grateful to each and every one of you. And I will be continue to be grateful to you every day of my life. Thank you very much to you all and good evening,” Schalit said.The IDF tank gunner was held captive in the Gaza Strip for more than five years, until he was freed in a prisoner exchange with Hamas.