Netanyahu and Gilad Shalit Meet for First Time Since Prisoner Swap

The former Israeli soldier, who returned to Israel after five years in Hamas captivity last year, thanked the prime minister for his part in securing his release.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu met Gilad Shalit, the former IDF soldier released from Hamas captivity in a prisoner exchange five months ago, on Thursday, in their first meeting since Shalit's return to Israel.

Shalit, whose parents accompanied him to the meeting in Tel Aviv, thanked the prime minister for his part in securing his release. Shalit told Netanyahu that he gained six kilos since his release, Army Radio reported.

Israeli Prime Minister Benyamin Netanyahu with Gilad Shalit in Tel Aviv, March 29, 2012.

“You look great and I am so glad you are overcoming all your difficulties,” Army Radio quoted Netanyahu as saying. “Your life is now free and free of worry.”

Shalit’s mother, Aviva, told the prime minister: “We will always remember that you brought Gilad home. We came to thank you and your wife Sara.”

Netanyahu responded to this by saying that his wife “Sara always told me that we must think of that boy held in the dark,” Army Radio said.

Last month Shalit met with French President Nicolas Sarkozy. Shalit, who is also a French citizen, thanked the Sarkozy for his part in making his release reality.