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October 18th, 2011
05:00 PM ET

Prisoner Exchange: Gilad Shalit's Transformation

With his release from captivity came some of the first pictures of Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit that the world had seen in years. Here, he is seen saluting Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on his arrival at the Tel Nof air base. He looks thin and pale, but otherwise well.

Shalit was only 19 years old when a group of Palestinian militants tunneled into Israel, attacked his army outpost, and took him hostage. That was in 2006.

Looking back at those few images we did have of Gilad Shalit before his release, it's clear captivity can take its toll on a person.

This is a photo Shalit's family released around the time of his capture. He looks happy and healthy with a big grin on his face as he stands proudly in his Israeli army uniform.

This next image was taken only three years later...

Until his release, it was the last time the world had seen him – in a video released by his Hamas captors. In it, Shalit looks visibly older and tired, hunched over a table in a nondescript room with dark circles under his eyes.

We should note that these pictures tell just one Israeli man's tale of captivity in Gaza.

You can read more about Gilad Shalit's return home here.

More than a thousand Palestinian men and women are in the process of being released after years spent in Israeli jails, including hundreds serving life sentences for attacks on Israelis.

You can read more about both Israelis and Palestinians celebrating the prisoner exchange here.

soundoff (3 Responses)
  1. Dana Letvin

    There is no comparison between Gilad Shalit and Palestinian prisoners. He was kidnapped and held for five years. They were convicted of terrorism and often of murdering innocent civilians. They deserve to be in jail. He did not.

    October 19, 2011 at 3:27 am | Reply
  2. Inna

    How could you compare them to Gilad Shalit? They have Jewish blood on their hands! They are cold blooded unrepentent murderers.They have plotted and carried out vicious attacks where Jewish children and elderly were killed!!

    October 19, 2011 at 3:34 am | Reply
    • Drpamella

      I have come up with a very interesting and civtsructone idea to protest acts of bullying, terrorism, and hatred. It is part of what I call the Weed Out Hate Initiative. By symbolizing our global desire to root out hatred, in the same manner we pull out weeds in a garden, we can send a signal to all those attempting to destroy us that the real scapegoats are our collective inner weeds. For the past six years, I had been researching and analyzing the spiritual roots of TuBeshvat along with the cultural and ecological roots of gardening. What I came up with is a need for a powerful positive global symbol. While walking through the terror of Dachau a few years ago, I came up the idea to ask the President of the United States to assemble children from all over the world to weed out hate for themselves, their countries and the planet. From that venue the President would ask every in the world to extract a symbolic weed on global TV. The book has been accepted in the Yad Vashem library. I have gotten letters from state officials in Germany and several executive Weed Out Hate Day proclamations from Governors and Mayors including Rahm Emanuel. It is kind of like a Jewish protest similar to what Ghandi did when he made his own salt.

      April 3, 2012 at 6:32 pm | Reply

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