Big Apple Welcome for Gilad Shalit Given by Mayor Bloomberg
On Monday, June 25—standing free on the sixth anniversary of the day Hamas kidnapped him—Gilad Shalit came to meet New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg and City Council President Christine Quinn, both of whom had visibly supported efforts to secure the young soldier’s release.
When marching with Shalit’s parents at a past “Salute to Israel” parade in New York, the mayor had worn an extra-large button with the young soldier’s picture. At Monday’s City Hall ceremony, Bloomberg showed Gilad an iPad photo of himself with Aviva and Noam Shalit. During his October 2011 trip to Israel, days after Gilad’s release, Bloomberg defended Israel’s decision to surrender 1,027 Palestinian prisoners for his freedom.
“I just know that the government of Israel had to make a decision and they didn’t walk away from the decision, they made one, and that’s what governing is all about,” Bloomberg told reporters in Jerusalem at the time.
Quinn had hosted Noam Shalit when he visited New York during his son’s captivity. Then, the City Council speaker proclaimed Sept. 6, 2011 “Gilad Shalit Day in New York,” and presented the distraught father a box overflowing with letters of comfort and concern. This time, the New York officials welcomed Shalit with a crystal “Big Apple,” in a Tiffany’s classic blue box.