A video of captive Israel Defense Forces soldier Gilad Shalit was broadcast on Israeli television on Thursday, showing the gaunt soldier holding a Palestinian newspaper dated September 14, 2009.
In the video, Shalit is seen saying that he was feeling healthy and being treated well by his captors.
In the video, which Israel received from Hamas Friday in exchange for the release of 20 female Palestinian prisoners held in Israeli jails, Shalit says that he had been reading newspapers in search of information regarding his situation.
He adds that he has been waiting a long time to be released, and expresses his love for his family. Shalit then recounts a personal anecdote from before his abduction, when his family visited him at his IDF army base.
Earlier Friday, Shalit’s family approved the broadcast of video footages of their son, saying that Hamas could do what they wanted with the footage, and that they rather control its release rather than Gilad’s abductors.
A spokesman for the family told reporters that the family had contacted the Prime Minister’s Office, officially permitting the release of the footage to the media.
Prime Minister Benhamin Netanyahu watched the video of Gilad in his office on Friday. Netanyahu then spoke with Gilad’s father, Noam Shalit.
Netanyahu said that the road to freeing Gilad is a long and hard one but the fact that he is healthy is encouraging to everyone.
The video is the first of Shalit since his capture in June 2006.