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Jewish Journal

Shalit reveals how he survived in first public interview since freedom

JNS.org

October 12, 2012 | 9:20 am

Captured Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit is seen in this file still image from video released on Oct. 2, 2009 by Israeli television. Photo by REUTERS/Handout/Files

Captured Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit is seen in this file still image from video released on Oct. 2, 2009 by Israeli television. Photo by REUTERS/Handout/Files

One year after his release, Israeli Channel 10 News aired parts of an interview with former Hamas captive Gilad Shalit on Oct. 11, during which Shalit revealed details of how he survived his ordeal and spent his days in captivity.

“During the day, I played all kinds of games with them, like chess and dominos. I also played all kinds of odd games with myself, mainly games related to sports. I would form a ball out of socks or shirts and try to aim for the garbage bin. I would invent all kinds of activities and also write things at times. For example, I would play the geographical game known as ‘country-city,’” Shalit said.

Shalit said he didn’t maintain a consistent diary. “I wrote all kinds of random notes and followed sports events. I would draw a map of Israel, Mitzpe Hila [where he and his family reside] and all the homes there, just to remember the place and imagine it. I did that in the early days of captivity, so that I wouldn’t forget. Some [captors] didn’t like the fact that I was writing things down. They thought I was gathering information.”

Regarding the moment of his release, Shalit only remembers feeling tense. “During the ride (to Egypt), I felt very anxious. I didn’t know if something would happen, if they would try to hurt me, or something would go wrong at the last moment. When I got out of the vehicle and realized I was in Egypt, I felt relief. I saw dozens of people, hundreds of them, after being in contact with only a few people for all those years. There were so many people there. It was a strange feeling, a sense of shock. I also began to feel relieved.”

Read a translation of the full interview on the Israelife blog.

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