JERUSALEM -- A former Israeli soldier held for more than five years by Hamas militants in the Gaza Strip has disclosed details about his life in captivity, his fullest account to date.

In a forthcoming Israeli TV documentary, former Sgt. Gilad Schalit said his Hamas captors treated him well for the most part, but he feared he would never be released. The transcript appeared Friday in the Yediot Ahronot daily.

"I tried to be optimistic," said Schalit, 26, according to the transcript. "I tried to focus on the little, good things I had there."

Hamas-allied militants from Gaza captured Schalit in a 2006 cross-border raid. Hamas held him in a secret location in the Gaza Strip, the seaside Palestinian territory that Hamas rules.

After a succession of Israeli mediators failed for years to negotiate his return, secret back-channel talks led to last October's prisoner swap, in which Hamas freed the soldier in exchange for more than 1,000 Palestinian prisoners held by Israel.

After being hidden from public view from the day he was captured, Schalit was brought across the Gaza border by armed Hamas militants. Before he was turned over to Israeli officials, he was put before an Egyptian TV journalist for a brief interview, as masked militants hovered nearby. The overwhelmed Schalit struggled to speak, and Israeli officials called the interview "shocking."

After that, Schalit has mostly kept out of the spotlight. He published a brief letter last month on the occasion of the Jewish new year, but did not grant any interviews until the documentary.

In the transcript, Schalit said his captors fed him well, played chess and dominoes with him, and "hardly abused me."

He said they let him watch Arabic news on TV, and he started to pick up a little Arabic. Later he was given a radio, which he used to listen to Israeli news. He said he and his captors would sometimes share a laugh watching televised sports matches and movies together.

Schalit didn't keep a journal, but he said he made sketches of his Israeli neighborhood so he wouldn't forget it. He said he tried to keep his sketches hidden, because some of his guards thought he was collecting intelligence.

Schalit said he had a difficult time at the start of his captivity, but eventually he developed a daily regimen, waking up and going to sleep at the same times each day. He said he kept track of the calendar, and calculated the time of day according to the sun and to the Muslim call to prayer five times a day.

He did not say if he knew where he was being held.

Schalit recalled one instance when he and his captors watched an Israeli soccer player score a key goal in a televised match.

"They were stunned by the goal. They were amazed by the fact that an Israeli team could play that way," Schalit recalled. "This is one of the things that helped me stay sane there."

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  • A Palestinian boy walks past a mural depicting captured Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit in Jabalia refugee camp on August 18, 2011 near Jabalia in the northern Gaza Strip. Shalit has been held for over five years and talks are in progress to initiate a prisoner swap with Palastinians. (Photo by Christopher Furlong/Getty Images)

  • A Palestinian boy walks past a mural depicting captured Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit in Jabalia refugee camp on August 18, 2011 near Jabalia in the northern Gaza Strip. Shalit has been held for over five years and talks are in progress to initiate a prisoner swap with Palastinians. (Photo by Christopher Furlong/Getty Images)

  • Hundreds of French-Israeli protesters take part in a rally calling for the release of Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit, who has been held in Gaza since his capture by Palestinian militants in 2006, in front of the International Red Cross (ICRC) offices in Tel Aviv on July 14, 2011 and to criticise the ICRC for failing to secure permission to visit Shalit. The protest was timed to coincide with the French national holiday Bastille Day. Shalit holds dual French and Israeli citizenship. (Jack Guez/AFP/Getty Images)

  • A portrait of French-Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit, who was captured in 2006 by Hamas-allied militants in the Gaza Strip, is displayed in front of the Paris cityhall on June 25, 2011 to mark the 5th anniversary of his captivity (1,825th day). Israel marked today five years since the capture of the soldier amid growing international calls for the Islamist Hamas movement to release him or at least provide proof of life. The poster reads : 'Paris is mobilized for Guilad Shalit's liberation, hostage since five years'. (Miguel Medina/AFP/Getty Images)

  • An Israeli girl holds a placard as she stands next to cardboard cutouts of abducted Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit near Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's residence in Jerusalem on June 25, 2011 as Israelis mark the 1,826th day (5th year) of his captivity in 2006 by Hamas-allied militants in the Gaza Strip. (Gali Tibbon/AFP/Getty Images)

  • A Palestinian woman walks past a painted wall depicting captured Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit young (C) and older (R) in the northern Gaza Strip refugee camp of Jabalia on March 27, 2011. (Thomas Coex/AFP/Getty Images)

  • Hundreds of Israelis mark 1,700th day in captivity of abducted soldier Gilad Shalit who was captured in 2006 by Hamas-allied militants in the Gaza Strip in a rally outside Prime Minister Netanyahu's residency in Jerusalem on February 19, 2011. (Gali Tibbon/AFP/Getty Images)

  • Cutouts of abducted Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit are put on display as Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu (unseen) holds an Israel's weekly cabinet meeting being held at the northern kibbutz of Degania Alef to mark 100 years of its existence on October 17, 2010. Shalit was abducted along the Gaza -Israeli demarcation line by Palestinian militants in June 2006. (Ancho Gosh/AFP/Getty Images)

  • An Israeli border guard stand near a protest tent outside Israeli prime minister's residence in Jerusalem calling for the release of abducted Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit, on September 26, 2010. Shalit was abducted by Gaza Strip militants in June 2006. (Photo credit should read (Ahmad Gharabli/AFP/Getty Images)

  • An Image of captured Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit is set in a Sukka or Tabernacle, mock a jail, on the eve of upcoming Sukkoth, the feast of the Tabernacles in front of Prime Minister's residency in Jerusalem on September 21, 2010, calling for Shalit's release and marking 1549 days since he was abducted by Palestinian militants in June 2006. (Menahem Kahana/AFP/Getty Images)