Gilad Shalit attended a concert by Shlomo Artzi in Caesarea Wednesday evening, where Artzi sang for him the song “Melech Ha’olam” (“King of the world”) that was Artzi’s signature anthem for the release of the Israeli soldier during his years in Hamas captivity.
There was barely a dry eye in the house of 3,800 people after Artzi dedicated the song to Shalit and then came to the front of the stage to encourage Shalit, who was near the front of the audience, to join in. Shalit looked rather embarrassed, though appreciative, stayed where he was, applauded briefly, and sat down quickly at the end of the song.
The performer told Shalit that he sang the song during a 2010 support event on the border with Gaza in the hope that the captured soldier would hear the music. “Of course you didn’t,” he said. Artzi said he had dreamed of the day when he would be able to sing it for a free Shalit in Caesarea.
Artzi was a prominent supporter of the campaign to release Shalit, who was held captive for five years by Hamas in Gaza before being released in 2011. During the years of captivity Artzi often dedicated the song “Yoter Mizeh Anahnu Lo Tzrichim” (We don’t need anything more than this”) to Shalit as well as “Melech Ha’olam.”