Noam Shalit, the father of the former Israel Defense Forces soldier who was recently released from Hamas captivity, said Tuesday that he decided to run for the Labor Party list because he wants to give something back to Israeli society.

On Monday, Shalit announced his intention to run for a place on the Israel Labor Party list for the next Knesset. A member of the Israel Labor Party since 1996, he informed Israel Labor Party chairperson, Shelly Yachimovich, of his final decision the same day.

"Israeli society recruited itself for Gilad in our times of trouble, and we managed to recruit Israeli society," Shalit said at a joint press conference with Labor Party chairperson Shelly Yachimovich. "Today I aspire to give back to society, as much as I can, and for this reason I am running for the candidacy."

Noam Shalit denied that his candidacy was intended to rival Yair Lapid, the veteran Channel 2 anchorman who announced on Sunday that he was leaving behind his media career to enter politics in time for Israel’s next elections.

Shalit told reporters that he had many doubts over running for the Labor party list, as he expected a lot of criticism from the Israeli public over the decision, saying that it was up to the Israeli public to decide whether or not he is a suitable candidate, and that the criticism he has received so far was “not unexpected, and was even legitimate.”

Yachimovich congratulated Shalit at Tuesday’s press conference, saying, “This is not new for you, you have been a member of the party for many years, far more than me.” Yachimovich told reporters that she and Shalit had discussed his running on the Israel Labor Party ticket for the past month, and that she had asked him to run.

“I would not have considered this if I had not known that he has been a party member since 1996. He is a man of the Labor movement, and holds the principles of the movement,” she said, adding, “He is flesh of our flesh.”

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