Jewish community celebrates release of Gilat Shalit

Following the release last month of Sergeant Gilat Shalit, who had been held captive for five years by Hamas, there was widespread celebration.

According to a report in the Times Series, more than 200 individuals gathered in the capital’s suburb of Hendon to mark the occasion.

The local Jewish community came together at the corner of Brent Street and Bell Lane to celebrate the freedom of the Israeli, who had been captured in June 2006 at the age of 18. Since that time, Jewish and Israeli communities had rallied for him to be set free and the Israeli Embassy in London was among the many organisations keeping a close eye on developments.

Eventually, in a deal that involved an Israeli-Palestinian prisoner swap, Sgt Shalit was set free.

To register their pleasure at the move, the Zionist Federation staged the Hendon event, which featured singing and dancing and saw Israeli flags being waved in jubilation. There were also speeches.

Executive director at the organisation Alan Aziz commented: “This was a wonderful way to end an emotional day. Israel has paid a heavy price but has brought home one of its children.”

Also, the federation’s director Stefan Kerner noted there was a positive response from passers-by in the Hendon area.

Meanwhile, Hemda Garelick, who is a relative of Sgt Shalit, stated that she had spoken to his mother after the release of her son and she had noted that the family had enjoyed their first meal together in over half a decade.

Ms Garelick remarked: “I am so proud of him. We never stopped thinking about him.”

Director of Public Affairs at the Israeli Embassy Michael Brodsky also spoke at the event, along with Oliver Mayemba from the Christian Friends of Israel.

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