NEW YORK (JTA) — Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu vowed that Israel would to do all it could to bring home kidnapped Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit.
Netanyahu, speaking Wednesday at the annual Independence Day reception at the President’s Residence for past and present Israeli army commanders, said "we are committed to bringing Gilad Schalit home in one piece to his parents."
"Every combat soldier knows that we will do all within our power to bring him home alive and well," he stressed. "Israel has full faith in the armed forces of the General Staff.
Shalit was abducted by Hamas operatives in a cross-border raid in June 2006.
Joining the prime minister at the ceremony were President Shimon Peres, Defense Minister Ehud Barak and the Israel Defense Forces’ chief of staff, Lt.-Gen. Gabi Ashkenazi, as well as past and present IDF generals, former presidents and prime ministers, and heads of the intelligence and police communities.
Peres rejected the criticism leveled at Israel for Operation Cast Lead in the Gaza Strip earlier this year.
"They attack Israel from the inside and from the outside as if we invited this war and it wasn’t forced upon us, as if it’s possible to fight a war without victims," he said.