NEW YORK (WCBS 880) – Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit was captured by Hamas in 2006 and now his release is expected within days. That has the Jewish community around the world, and in the Tri-State Area, overjoyed.

WCBS 880’s Marla Diamond On The Story

The area Jewish community held rallies and vigils marking his birthdays, making sure the now 25-year-old was never forgotten.

“It’s about caring for one another. It’s about community,” said Jason Shames, CEO of the Jewish Federation of Northern New Jersey, headquartered in Paramus. “In the end, I don’t know that I would declare it a state victory in that we’re giving up a tremendous cost for him, but since we value that human life and the fact that he’s being reunited with his family, it’s really almost a miracle.”

His organization is one of many planning welcome home celebrations for Shalit.

Shalit’s father Noam has become a well-known public figure in his push for his son’s release. He even visited New Jersey several times.

It was announced on Tuesday by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu that the Israel had reached a deal with Hamas to release about 1,000 Palestinian prisoners, many implicated in deadly attacks, in exchange for the release of Shalit.

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