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Bibi Expected To Lead Somber Shalit Welcome

The Jewish people will not celebrate the freeing of murderers, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is expected to say in a short speech following the planned release of abducted Israel Defense Forces soldier Gilad Shalit on Tuesday.

“Our people are distinguished by the fact that we don’t celebrate the freeing of murderers,” the premier will say.

Netanyahu is expected to arrive at the Tel Nof Israel Air Force base in the morning hours on Tuesday, from where he will supervise the process of Shalit’s passage from the Gaza Strip, Egypt, and finally back to Israel.

Along with the Prime Minister, Defense Minister Ehud Barak and IDF Chief of Staff Benny Gantz are also expected to greet the abducted IDF soldier at the IAF base upon his arrival by helicopter from Egypt.

The three top officials will then escort Shalit to a nearby facility, where he will meet his family.

The IDF soldier’s arrival and reunion with his family will be closed to the media, but are expected to be documented by the IDF Spokesman’s Office, as well as the Government Press Office. Images and video recordings of the meeting will then be released to news outlets.

From the Tel Nof base the Shalit family will be airlifted to their home in Mitzpe Hila, in northern Israel.

Before leaving the IAF base, Netanyahu is expected to give a short statement to reporters, in which he is to say that, for him, Shalit’s release is both “a moving moment and a difficult day.” He will then congratulate the IDF soldier for returning to Israel and reuniting with his family.

On Monday, the Prime Minister conducted final consultations on the deal, and was updated with details concerning the deal’s execution.

Earlier Monday, Netanyahu sent a letter to family members of those hurt in terror attacks, in which he expressed understanding and empathy for the families, but stated that he is “faced with the responsibility of the Prime Minister of Israel to bring home every soldier who is sent to protect our citizens.”

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