Date published: December 8, 2011
JERUSALEM (JTA) - Gilad Shalit has recovered from the physical ordeal of his Gaza captivity, his grandfather said.
Tzvi Shalit met Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Dec. 1 to update him on the rehabilitation of the Israeli soldier who was seized by Hamas-led gunmen in 2006 and kept incommunicado until his release as part of an Egyptian-brokered prisoner swap in October.
"Gilad has put on weight. He really is back to normal," Netanyahu's office quoted Shalit's grandfather.
"You saved my grandson for me. In the current situation in the region, it would have been impossible to return him."
Meanwhile, Shalit's father denied reports that his son went on a hunger strike toward the end of his captivity.
"He was in such a deteriorated physical state that they had to connect him to an G\?" Noam Shalit said at a journalism conference in Eilat, according to Ha 'aretz.
"It wasn't the result of a hunger strike but of an array of factors having to do with the conditions of his imprisonment, such as a years-long lack of daylight."
On Sunday, Yediot Achronot reported that the captive Israeli soldier had gone on a hunger strike while in Hamas captivity in order to push for his release.
The Israeli newspaper reported that Shalit's malnutrition advanced prospects for a deal by making Hamas officials fear for his life. The report was widely cited by other media outlets.
Noam Shalit also spoke about the conditions his son faced during his more than five years in captivity
"It wasn't a picnic in the first part, but the treatment bettered with time," the elder Shalit said. "In 2008 he received a radio and listened to Israel Radio, Army Radio and Radio South.He knew of our activity, which goes to show the role of radio is far from over in the 21st century."