Noam Shalit, June 14, 2010
Noam Shalit, June 14, 2010 Photo by Dudu Beher
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Noam Shalit, father of captured IDF soldier Gilad Shalit, said that he was not feeling optimistic as he and his family prepare to depart on Sunday on a planned 12-day march from their home in Mitzpeh Hila to the prime minister's residence in Jerusalem.

"We cannot be optimistic at this stage," he said on Saturday evening.

Shalit called on the Israeli public to join the march.

"I say to the people who care about Gilad, who has rotted in Hamas captivity for four years now, to come and support us with your feet," he said.

Shalit added that if reports on the numbers of people planning to participate in the march are true "we are in a good situation."

Earlier, a Shalit activist brought a 1960s era tractor to the Shalit residence. The tractor had been used by former Prime Minister Ariel Sharon at his family farm in Kfar Malal in the 60s. On Sunday, the tractor will lead the Shalit march for several hundred meters to make the statement that "Sharon would have acted differently."

Noam Shalit declined to comment on statements made by politicians and public figures in the past few days criticizing the march. He did say that he had not spoken with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in recent days.