Gilad Shalit welcomed by French president in Paris
Shalit and his family will be guests of honor at a gala Jewish community event
Gilad Shalit spent Wednesday in Paris meeting with French President Nicolas Sarkozy.
In his first trip abroad since being released by Hamas in October after more than five years in captivity, Shalit, who holds both Israeli and French citizenship, met Sarkozy at the Elysee Palace, as reported by the French media.
Shalit’s parents, Noam and Aviva Shalit, were also present, and they will be the guests of honor on Wednesday night at the annual dinner of the Representative Council of French Jewish Institutions.
Sarkozy will deliver a speech at that dinner, which Socialist candidate Francois Hollande will also attend.
The dinner has become a can’t-miss date on the French political calendar. It is generally attended by prominent Catholic and Muslim figures as well as leading members of France’s large Jewish community.
Sarkozy hasn’t announced his candidacy for elections in April and May but is widely expected to seek a second term.
Hollande is considered to be the leading contender to unseat Sarkozy in the upcoming April elections.
Hollande tops opinion polls ahead of the vote amid worries about France’s dragging economy and disillusionment with Sarkozy’s presidency.