An Italian delegation led by Rome’s Mayor Gianni Alemanno arrived in Mizpe Hila on Monday morning in order to visit Gilad Shalit and his family. Alemanno was accompanied by the President of the Jewish Community of Rome, Riccardo Pacifici and by Italian Ambassador to Israel Luigi Mattiolo.
During the five years of Shalit’s captivity, Alemanno and Pacifici have repeatedly brought the issue of the abducted soldier to the attention of the wider Italian and European public. Last year, on the day that marked the fourth anniversary since Gilad’s capture, the Municipality of Rome turned off the lights of the Colosseum.
During a ceremony that took place on July 1, 2009, the Mayor of the Italian capital formally conferred Rome’s honorary citizenship on Gilad Shalit. On Monday, Mr. Alemanno was finally able to give him the Capitoline Wolf, a bronze reproduction of ancient sculpture housed in Rome’s City Hall.
“The Wolf is the symbol of Rome” Alemanno told Shalit. “I hereby present it to you as an honorary citizen. Now and forever, Rome will be your home”. Gilad also received pictures and written messages from the children of the Roman Jewish Community.
President Pacifici proudly showed him the poster that for five long years stood at the entrance gates of Rome’s Great Synagogue. “We were very happy to remove this poster on the day you were released” said Mr. Pacifici.
“A few years ago we removed the ones of Ehud Goldwasser and Eldad Regev, when Hezbollah returned their bodies. But last October, we were even happier to remove yours, knowing that you were coming back safe to your house, to your parents, and to your people”.