JERUSALEM (JTA) — Gilad Shalit in his first interview in Israel since his release spoke of how he passed the time in captivity and his sense of great "relief" upon being set free.
Israel’s Channel 10 played excerpts from the interview, undertaken near the first anniversary of Shalit’s release by Hamas in a prisoner exchange from his more than five-year captivity in the Gaza Strip. The full interview will be broadcast in coming days, according to Channel 10.
Shalit, who was an Israeli soldier when he was taken captive, said he played board games with himself and made a basketball out of socks that he aimed at the wastebasket. He said he also drew maps — of the country, of his community and of his favorite places — so he would not forget them.
Speaking of his release, Shalit said he felt a sense of great "relief" when he crossed into Egypt and that he was disconcerted by the "flurry" of people around him after only seeing a few people for nearly six years. Shalit said he felt a lot of "pressure" during the trip from where he was hidden to the Rafah border before being set free.
He added wryly that when he was forced to be interviewed on Egyptian television, the interviewer was the first woman he had seen since being taken captive.