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Noam Shalit, Who Fought Tirelessly To Free His Son From Hamas Captivity, Dies at 68

Noam Shalit, who rose to prominence throughout Israel and around the world while campaigning tirelessly to free his son, Gilad, an Israeli soldier captured by Hamas and held in Gaza, has died at the age of 68. Shalit died on Wednesday night after battling leukemia for several years. Shalit waged a high-profile and emotional campaign to convince the Israeli government to negotiate a deal to bring his son home. As part of his efforts, Shalit met with Israeli government officials and promoted his cause with the help of celebrities, performers and thousands of volunteers. He also traveled to the United Nations to plead for international assistance to help in the return of his son. Gilad Shalit, who was kidnapped into Gaza during a cross-border attack by Hamas, was released in 2011, after being held for five years, in a controversial prisoner swap that saw him freed in exchange for over 1,000 Palestinian prisoners. Noam Shalit, who with his wife, Aviva, was blessed to see his son get married, as well as his other two children, said recently that the stress of his son’s captivity and his efforts to get him released were damaging to his health.