Covering tonight’s second game of the NBA finals in Oklahoma City will be a first-time sports columnist and by all accounts a basketball fanatic: former Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit, who spent five years in captivity in Hamas-controlled Gaza.
The Miami Herald’s Carol Rosenberg reports that Mr. Shalit is expected in Oklahoma City for his first assignment as a sports writer, covering tonight’s Miami Heat and Oklahoma City Thunder game for the Israeli daily newspaper Yediot Ahronot.
“He’ll write an article or two about it because he’s a great fan,” according to the newspaper’s foreign editor in an interview with the Miami Herald. And there will be other assignments. The 26-year-old will be writing about sports on a regular basis, including the Maccabi Tel Aviv basketball team which is part of the Euroleague.
Mr. Shalit was serving with the Israeli Defense Forces when he was abducted by Hamas militants who had tunnelled in to Israeli territory.
He was held until a controversial prisoner exchange last October that brought about his release, but also led to the release of more than a 1,000 Palestinians - among them prisoners who had been convicted of murder and planning suicide attacks.
Mr. Shalit received medical treatment and underwent surgery to remove shrapnel in his arm sustained during the raid that led to his kidnapping.
He was formally discharged from the Israeli Defense Forces this April.