Statement of President Shimon Peres on the Return of Gilad Shalit

Gilad, Welcome home.

In a few minutes you will descend the stairs and enter your home.

We accompany you with excitement. With tears in our eyes. With a proud heart.

We saw you pale but standing tall. We stood tall with you.

You returned to us. And we returned to ourselves.

The children of Israel and the soldiers of the IDF are tasting the taste of freedom with you. The taste of our homeland.

Your parents worked day and night with love, with determination and respect for your return.

Your were isolated in captivity. But you were not alone.

The entire nation was with you. Worried about your fate. Praying for your return.

On your descent from the helicopter, they accompanied you with tearful eyes. With pride.

I called the Prime Minister a few moments ago and said to him:

'You took a fateful decision,

As great as the difficulty was in taking it, so too is the greatness of its significance and value.

You took the decision against heart-wrenching considerations. First and foremost against the deep pain of the bereaved families who are so dear to us.'

Citizens of Israel - the celebrations of terrorists will not decide our fate, rather the justice of our values and the bravery of our soldiers.

Dear Gilad,

Your paleness will pass. Your bravery will never give.

Be blessed.