On his first day of freedom after being released from an Egyptian jail, New York native Ilan Grapel got a good-natured round of punishment when he was told the New York Mets won the 2011 World Series.
According to the New York Post, the prank came during a news conference in Tel Aviv on Thursday, as Grapel was flanked by his mother, Irene, and Rep. Gary Ackerman (D-Queens), who helped negotiate his release.
The 27-year-old Grapel said it would be hard to express his deep appreciation to everyone who helped free him.
"There’s so many people to thank," he said, "and after being cut off for the past five months …"
Ackerman quickly interjected, "We told him the Mets won the World Series."
Grapel, a sports fan, appeared to take the joke in stride, offering Ackerman a big smile. The Mets have not won a World Series since 1986.
The 27-year-old Grapel was taken into custody by Egyptian security forces in June and was originally charged with espionage, although the charges were later changed to incitement, insurrection and damaging a public building during the uprising that ousted Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak.
Grapel was freed Thursday after Israel agreed to swap 25 Egyptian prisoners. Grapel, an Emory University law student, said he was in Cairo to do legal aid work.