JERUSALEM, Israel -- Gilad Shalit, the kidnapped IDF soldier released last October in an historic prisoner exchange with the Hamas terror group, has been hired as a sports reporter by the Israeli daily Yediot Ahronot.
The 26-year-old sports enthusiast, a longtime fan of Israel's Maccabi basketball team, seems well suited for his new career. He will cover Israeli and Euroleague basketball in a regular column.
Shalit is set to travel to the United States for his first big assignment -- the NBA finals that began Tuesday at the Chesapeake Energy Arena in Oklahoma City, with the Oklahoma City Thunder, beating the Miami Heat 105-94 in game one.
Shalit was kidnapped on June 25, 2006, in a cross-border attack on an army outpost near the Gaza border. His release eight months ago in a lopsided prisoner exchange (1,000 Arab terrorists for Shalit) took five years. He was kept in solitary confinement and denied any visitors, including representatives of the International Red Cross and his family.
The exchange was especially difficult for Israelis whose loved ones were murdered by one of the released prisoners, many of whom returned to terrorism shortly afterward.
In an interview with Bild.de aired last weekend, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said his wife, Sara, helped convince him to go through with the exchange, despite the agony.
"She told me to think of Gilad, the child Gilad locked up alone in a dark basement in Gaza, without hope, without light. Think if it were our son. Think of him, his mother and father, and make the decision," he said.
For Shalit's family and friends (and all of Israel), it's truly a happy ending to a heart-wrenching, five-year saga.