Katie Grant, 202-225-3130
WASHINGTON, DC - House Democratic Whip Steny H. Hoyer (MD) released the following statement today after the release of Israeli Army Sergeant Gilad Shalit:
“For over five years, the family of Gilad Shalit and the people of Israel have waited anxiously for word that he is coming home. Today, after what has surely been a horrific and terrifying ordeal for Gilad and his loved ones, the wait is finally over.
“I had the opportunity to join the Shalit family in Israel several years ago on a day that happened to be Gilad’s birthday. It was an emotional experience, and we were joined as well by families whose two sons were being held by Hezbollah – two sons who, tragically, did not come home alive. All of us who have spent time in Israel and who have stood in support of Israel and its people know how dearly each life is held and how sacred the duty of redeeming captives is considered. Today’s news brings added joy during a season of hope for the new year. It is my hope that those who were released to secure his return will use this opportunity to embrace peace and refrain from engaging in acts of terrorism. I continue to pray for Israel’s security and success, and I join with Israelis and with those in Jewish communities throughout the United States celebrating Gilad’s homecoming this morning.”