(Israelhayom, Ynet). Grim atmosphere replaced with smiles as Shalits bid farewell to protest tent, Smiles and laughter throughout as Noam and Aviva Shalit visited for the last time before heading to their home up north days ahead of Gilad's expected return from over five years in Hamas captivity.
Still, Aviva was realistic: "This joy is mixed with a great deal of fear; it is obvious that he won't be the same boy we sent off."
Speaking of Gilad's state of mind she said: "We will deal and help him in every way we can. There are professionals in the field and the State of Israel is excellent in that regard and I'm sure that they will make themselves available if needed. No matter what we do when we get home, the most important thing is that Gilad comes back."
Gilad's father Noam Shalit noted that the protest tent had fulfilled its purpose "it will be 'switching careers' and becoming a Sukkah'" standing beside Chief Rabbi Yona Metzger he added that "the chief rabbi and the chief rabbi of France are the tent's last guests."
Zvi Shalit, Gilad's grandfather, told reporters Wednesday that while his family was concerned about the captured soldier's health, he hoped they would all be able to celebrate Simchat Torah together. “We do not know what condition he is in and how he has been treated in captivity. We are waiting for the moment when we will be able to embrace him.”
President Shimon Peres met with Gilad's parents, Noam and Aviva Shalit, Wednesday before a scheduled meeting with the prisoner exchange negotiating team, headed by intelligence official David Meidan, during which Peres is expected to be given a copy of the list of prisoners to be pardoned.
"You walked on a tightrope and you struggled to bring Gilad home with restraint, dignity and determination, and you demonstrated leadership and responsibility," Peres told the Shalit family and also praised Netanyahu for making a "bold decision."
Peres also commented on resistance to the release of Palestinian prisoners in exchange for Shalit, saying "I'm aware of the pain of the families who lost loved ones in terror attacks, and we need to embrace them now with warmth."