Gilad Shalit marked his first birthday since being freed from Hamas captivity.
Shalit turned 26 on Tuesday. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu called Shalit to wish him a happy birthday.
“This is a particularly happy birthday,” Netanyahu reportedly told Shalit. “It is a birthday of freedom. The entire Israeli nation wishes you mazal tov.”
The Shalit family plans a private birthday celebration over the weekend, Shalit’s grandfather Zvi Shalit told Army Radio.
Shalit was released last October by Hamas after more than five years of captivity in the Gaza Strip.
Shalit earlier this summer was honored by New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg.
The ex-captive, who is now a sportswriter for the daily Yediot Achronot newspaper in Israel, was in the United States this month covering the NBA championship series and was in New York for a brief trip on his way to the Euro 12 soccer championships being held in Poland and Ukraine.