Ordeal Over, Shalits Move On

Gilad Covered NBA Finals While Dad Runs for Office

By Nathan Jeffay

Published June 24, 2012, issue of June 29, 2012.
  • Print
  • Share Share
  • Single Page

At the Shalit household, once again there is no Gilad. His father, Noam, is in the front garden — but not forlornly waiting, as in many press photographs taken on this spot. Instead, he is kvelling.

When the Forward visited in mid-June, Gilad Shalit, the former Israeli soldier held prisoner in Gaza for five years by Hamas, was away at the just-completed NBA finals in Miami for his new job, writing color commentary on basketball games for Israel’s best-selling daily newspaper, Yediot Aharonot. In his debut article on June 15, he told readers of his love for the sport and how it gave him strength through his captivity, with televised games sometimes even providing a “common denominator” between him and his captors.

Gilad’s Gig: Former Hamas prisoner Gilad Shalit is covering the NBA Finals.
Gilad’s Gig: Former Hamas prisoner Gilad Shalit is covering the NBA Finals.

Everybody in Israel recognizes this picturesque Galilee home from the scenes of a distraught Noam Shalit after his son was kidnapped by Hamas back in 2006. They also know it from the emotional scene that took place at 2:56 p.m. on October 18 of this past year, when the helicopter carrying him, just released from Gaza, touched down and he returned.

Back then, the nation wondered, and worried, about Gilad Shalit’s emotional and psychological state after going so long with no human contact except that of his captors’ representatives, with hardly any sunlight and with poor nourishment and medical care.

But his father reports that the family has been taken aback by his progress. “On an emotional level he was quite surprising,” he said. “After some weeks or months, it was like nothing happened to him.

“Now he’s fully recovered, and emotionally. I think you can never know what will be in the future, [but] as far as we can see, now he’s okay and willing very much to go back to normal life, to go out to travel, to spend time with his friends, to attend sports games.”

In fact, Noam Shalit admitted that before he was taken, his son lacked confidence: “He was not a social master.” But he also said that he returned stronger and is now “much more sociable.”

With iPhone and iPad in hand, Gilad Shalit is doing well catching up on developments in the world that he didn’t glean from the radio access he was permitted in the past three years of his captivity, his father reported.

His son hopes to study at university, though he has not set a timetable or chosen a subject. As for whether he will return to the army for reserve duty — as most discharged soldiers do — that remains an open question.

But while Gilad Shalit may be returning to a “normal life,” his father, who led the campaign to enable him to do so, cannot. He tried to keep his job in the marketing department at the Iscar metal working tools company during that time, “but it wasn’t the same. Sooner or later I realized it was not possible. I worked for almost two years, but I couldn’t go on with our campaign and at the same time go to my office.” By the time his son came home, Noam Shalit was no longer motivated to return.


The Jewish Daily Forward welcomes reader comments in order to promote thoughtful discussion on issues of importance to the Jewish community. In the interest of maintaining a civil forum, The Jewish Daily Forwardrequires that all commenters be appropriately respectful toward our writers, other commenters and the subjects of the articles. Vigorous debate and reasoned critique are welcome; name-calling and personal invective are not. While we generally do not seek to edit or actively moderate comments, our spam filter prevents most links and certain key words from being posted and The Jewish Daily Forward reserves the right to remove comments for any reason.





Find us on Facebook!
  • "Selma. Nearly 50 years ago it was violent Selma, impossibly racist Selma, site of Bloody Sunday, when peaceful civil rights marchers made their first attempt to cross the Pettus Street Bridge on the way to the state capitol in Montgomery, Alabama." http://jd.fo/r50mf With the 50th anniversary approaching next spring, a new coalition is bringing together blacks, Jews and others for progressive change.
  • Kosovo's centuries-old Jewish community is down to a few dozen. In a nation where the population is 90% Muslim, they are proud their past — and wonder why Israel won't recognize their state. http://jd.fo/h4wK0
  • Israelis are taking up the #IceBucketChallenge — with hummus.
  • In WWI, Jews fought for Britain. So why were they treated as outsiders?
  • According to a new poll, 75% of Israeli Jews oppose intermarriage.
  • Will Lubavitcher Rabbi Moshe Wiener be the next Met Council CEO?
  • Angelina Jolie changed everything — but not just for the better:
  • Prime Suspect? Prime Minister.
  • Move over Dr. Ruth — there’s a (not-so) new sassy Jewish sex-therapist in town. Her name is Shirley Zussman — and just turned 100 years old.
  • From kosher wine to Ecstasy, presenting some of our best bootlegs:
  • Sara Kramer is not the first New Yorker to feel the alluring pull of the West Coast — but she might be the first heading there with Turkish Urfa pepper and za’atar in her suitcase.
  • About 1 in 40 American Jews will get pancreatic cancer (Ruth Bader Ginsberg is one of the few survivors).
  • At which grade level should classroom discussions include topics like the death of civilians kidnapping of young Israelis and sirens warning of incoming rockets?
  • Wanted: Met Council CEO.
  • “Look, on the one hand, I understand him,” says Rivka Ben-Pazi, a niece of Elchanan Hameiri, the boy that Henk Zanoli saved. “He had a family tragedy.” But on the other hand, she said, “I think he was wrong.” What do you think?
  • from-cache

Would you like to receive updates about new stories?




















We will not share your e-mail address or other personal information.

Already subscribed? Manage your subscription.