Skip To Content
Breaking News

Gilad Shalit’s Family Honored at Paris Gala

Former captive Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit and his parents met with French President Nicolas Sarkozy at the presidential palace in Paris.

“We are very happy to be here at the Elysee Palace,” said Noam Shalit, speaking to journalists Wednesday morning. “We are very touched.”

Hours later, Shalit’s parents attended the annual gala hosted by the French Jewish umbrella group CRIF.

Sarkozy had met repeatedly with Gilad’s father, Noam, after the young Israeli soldier, who has dual French citizenship, was captured on the border with Gaza in 2006 and held hostage there for more than five years by Hamas.

During the CRIF dinner, Noam Shalit thanked Sarkozy and the French people for their efforts to help to free his son, adding that due to poor health, Gilad was not able to attend the event.

Sarkozy, a regular speaker at the CRIF event, is struggling in popularity polls and still has not declared his candidacy for president ahead of spring elections. But the self-described enthusiastic “friend of Israel” gave an energetic and occasionally emotional speech at the gala, condemning Shalit’s “barbaric” captors.

“Shame on those who did this!” he said to rousing applause.

Sarkozy also gave a warning against resorting to military force in Iran. He called for reinforced sanctions against Iran “to avoid tragedy: the drama of a military conflict that would solve nothing and would complicate everything.”

By toughening sanctions, he added, “We want to reassure the leaders of Israel, so that the irreparable is not committed,” he said, adding that “the solution is never military.”

Sarkozy also touched on anti-Semitism in France, the Arab Spring and a sensitive French vote in favor of the United Nations cultural agency UNESCO’s recognition of Palestinian statehood. He also appealed for accelerated efforts toward Israeli-Palestinian peace.

Bipartisan political heavyweights, including Sarkozy’s chief rival for the presidency, Socialist Francois Hollande, made their traditional appearances at the gala in support of France’s Jewish community.

I hope you appreciated this article. Before you go, I’d like to ask you to please support the Forward’s award-winning journalism this Passover.

In this age of misinformation, our work is needed like never before. We report on the news that matters most to American Jews, driven by truth, not ideology.

At a time when newsrooms are closing or cutting back, the Forward has removed its paywall. That means for the first time in our 126-year history, Forward journalism is free to everyone, everywhere. With an ongoing war, rising antisemitism, and a flood of disinformation that may affect the upcoming election, we believe that free and open access to Jewish journalism is imperative.

Readers like you make it all possible. Right now, we’re in the middle of our Passover Pledge Drive and we still need 300 people to step up and make a gift to sustain our trustworthy, independent journalism.

Make a gift of any size and become a Forward member today. You’ll support our mission to tell the American Jewish story fully and fairly. 

— Rachel Fishman Feddersen, Publisher and CEO

Join our mission to tell the Jewish story fully and fairly.

Only 300 more gifts needed by April 30

Republish This Story

Please read before republishing

We’re happy to make this story available to republish for free, unless it originated with JTA, Haaretz or another publication (as indicated on the article) and as long as you follow our guidelines. You must credit the Forward, retain our pixel and preserve our canonical link in Google search.  See our full guidelines for more information, and this guide for detail about canonical URLs.

To republish, copy the HTML by clicking on the yellow button to the right; it includes our tracking pixel, all paragraph styles and hyperlinks, the author byline and credit to the Forward. It does not include images; to avoid copyright violations, you must add them manually, following our guidelines. Please email us at [email protected], subject line “republish,” with any questions or to let us know what stories you’re picking up.

We don't support Internet Explorer

Please use Chrome, Safari, Firefox, or Edge to view this site.