Israeli Embassy welcomes returned soldier

Press Release – Israeli Embassy

Israel’s Ambassador to New Zealand, Shemi Tzur, today welcomed the release of kidnapped soldier Gilad Schalit, who arrived back in Israel yesterday after more than five years being held in solitary confinement by the Hamas regime in Gaza. Israeli Embassy welcomes returned soldier

Israel’s Ambassador to New Zealand, Shemi Tzur, today welcomed the release of kidnapped soldier Gilad Schalit, who arrived back in Israel yesterday after more than five years being held in solitary confinement by the Hamas regime in Gaza.

Echoing the words of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Mr Tzur said it was a bittersweet moment. The joy of seeing the captured soldier returned alive with the realization that the release had come at a heavy price.

In order to effect yesterday’s outcome, more than 1000 convicted Palestinian prisoners were released from Israeli prisons, among them hundreds directly involved in the killings of 599 Israeli citizens.

“Israel, like New Zealand, a small country where everybody knows everybody, and there are no degrees of separation,” Mr Tzur said. “Everything about this affair is something we all feel very deeply.”

“For Israel, however, the most important thing here always was to honour our commitment to never leaving a soldier behind.”

“Yesterday, after 1941 terrible nights spent in solitary captivity, denied even a visit by the Red Cross, Gilad was able to come home.”

ENDS

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