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Gilad Shalit's father Noam announces Knesset run

    Gilad Shalit hugs his father Noam
    Gilad Shalit hugs his father Noam

    Gilad Shalit's father is planning a bid for political office in Israel.

    Noam Shalit, who spent much of the last two years camped outside Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's residence in Jerusalem to encourage political action to secure his kidnapped son's freedom, is hoping to become a Knesset member for the Labour Party.

    His son was freed from the clutches of Hamas last October, after more than five years in captivity, after the Israeli government agreed to a prisoner swap.

    The family's struggle to secure the soldier's return was taken up by politcians from across the spectrum, but Mr Shalit has been a Labour Party member for more than 15 years.

    He told Labour leader Shelly Yachimovich that he wanted to represent the party in the Knesset and would contest the next election, expected to be next year or earlier.

    He said he had decided to join public life after "years of a public battle, during which I got to know Israel society deeply, both its beautiful and ethical sides.

    "This is out of a desire to serve the public, and to be in a place from which it is possible to influence the character of Israeli society."

    He said the "pro-peace" Labour Party was his natural home.

    Ms Yachimovich heralded Mr Shalit's decision. She said his family's battle has "united the whole of Israeli society" and added that she was "convinced his contribution as a member of Knesset will be a great one".

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