Before leaving Egyptian soil, Gilad Shalit was interviewed by Egyptian state television.
He appeared weak and pale and sometimes seemed to struggle to find his words or catch his breath. But he insisted he was in good health.
Shalit spoke in Hebrew. His words were then translated into Arabic by an interpreter.
He thanked those who had worked for his release and then speaking of the last five years he said: “They were very long years but I always thought the day would come when I would see myself get out of captivity.”
Shalit was asked when he had heard that he would be released and what effect the news had on him.
“I heard the news a week ago and I thought it was my last chance to be freed. But I have the feeling I am going to live through some very difficult times,” he said.
Shalit may have been referring to the debriefing he can expect from the Israeli army or just the task that now faces him of readjusting to normal life.
Finally, there was a call for an end to conflict.
“I hope that this exchange will lead to peace between Israelis and Palestinians,” he said. “And that it will strengthen collaboration between the two sides.