Gilad Shalit Meets With Mike Bloomberg


gilad-shalit-bloombergWhen Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg marched arm in arm with Gilad Shalit’s parents in the 2009 Salute to Israel parade in New York, he sported a button demanding freedom for Mr. Shalit, the young Israeli soldier who had been captured by Hamas in June 2006.

When the mayor traveled to Israel in October, not long after Mr. Shalit was released in a prisoner exchange, he presented an American flag to Israeli Prime Minister Bibi Netanyahu, and asked that it be given to Mr. Shalit’s family as a sign of solidarity. Mr. Bloomberg also vigorously defended Jerusalem’s decision to release more than 1,000 Palestinian soldiers in exchange for Mr. Shalit.

So perhaps it was not surprising that Mr. Shalit would show up at City Hall on Monday, the sixth anniversary of his capture, to visit Mr. Bloomberg for a brief ceremony.

Mr. Shalit is now a sportswriter for the popular Yediot Achronot newspaper in Israel. He came to the United States to cover the NBA finals, and was passing through New York en route to the European soccer championships, which are being held in Poland and the Ukraine.

Mr. Shalit didn’t say much during the five-minute ceremony, other than to mention that the NBA finals were “not bad,” and he smiled when Mr. Bloomberg said that he wished that a New York team had made the finals. He also smiled when Mr. Bloomberg showed him a photo, on his iPad, of the mayor with Mr. Shalit’s parents.

The mayor was joined by Christine C. Quinn, the City Council speaker, who had proclaimed Gilad Shalit Day in New York on Sept. 7, 2011. Together, the mayor and the speaker presented Mr. Shalit with a crystal apple, donated by Tiffany’s.

“Don’t throw it at something,” Mr. Bloomberg joked.

{NY Times/ Newscenter}