Gilad Shalit met hostages’ families, shared how he endured Hamas captivity — report

TV says former soldier, who was held by terror group in Gaza for 5 years, reached out to relatives of those abducted on Oct 7. to give them hope about ‘normal life’ after captivity

Gilad Shalit at a memorial ceremony for Yoni Netanyahu at the Mount Herzl Military Cemetery, in Jerusalem on July 12, 2016. (Kobi Gideon / GPO /File)
Gilad Shalit at a memorial ceremony for Yoni Netanyahu at the Mount Herzl Military Cemetery, in Jerusalem on July 12, 2016. (Kobi Gideon / GPO /File)

Former solider Gilad Shalit recently met with the families of several Israelis kidnapped by Hamas on October 7 and shared with them how he endured five years as a hostage of the Gaza-ruling terror group, Israeli television reported Monday.

Shalit expressed his support for the families and told them that their loved ones would be able to survive and recover, despite the difficulties, according to Channel 12 news.

Shalit, who was captured by Hamas in a 2006 cross-border attack and held in Gaza for five years, was said to have reached out to families of the hostages in the days after the Hamas-led onslaught three months ago, when Palestinian terrorists stormed the border with Israel, killing some 1,200 people and abducting around 240, mostly civilians.

In the first days after the attack, Shalit reportedly offered to help the families, but with the shock of the aftermath of the Hamas atrocities, a meeting was only held in recent days with a few family representatives of hostages still held in Gaza.

According to the report, Shalit told the group that their loved ones could return and live full, happy lives, as he has since returning to Israel in 2011. Though many details of Shalit’s recovery have not been disclosed, he has traveled the world, studied at university, written a sports column for the Yediot Ahronot newspaper and gotten married since he was released in a controversial exchange that saw Israel free 1,027 Palestinian security prisoners, including Hamas leader in Gaza Yahya Sinwar, who is thought to be a key mastermind of the October 7 attack.

Channel 12 reported Shalit said it was important for him to share his experience with the hostages’ family members and to support them however possible.

People attend a 24-hour rally calling for the release of the hostages taken by Hamas terrorists into the Gaza Strip, in Tel Aviv, on January 14, 2024. (AP/Ohad Zwigenberg)

It is believed that 132 hostages abducted by Hamas on October 7 remain in Gaza — not all of them alive — after 105 civilians were released from Hamas captivity during a weeklong truce in late November. Four hostages were released prior to that, and one was rescued by troops. The bodies of eight hostages have also been recovered and three hostages were mistakenly killed by the military. The Israel Defense Forces has confirmed the deaths of 25 of those still held by Hamas, citing new intelligence and findings obtained by troops operating in Gaza. One more person is listed as missing since October 7, and their fate is still unknown.

Hamas is also holding the bodies of fallen IDF soldiers Oron Shaul and Hadar Goldin since 2014, as well as two Israeli civilians, Avera Mengistu and Hisham al-Sayed, who are both thought to be alive after entering the Strip of their own accord in 2014 and 2015 respectively.

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