On the 30th anniversary of Israel’s dramatic rescue of hostages at the Entebbe Airport in Uganda, former Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu told Israel Today that the operation was a “turning point” in the war on terror.” Netanyahu’s brother, Jonathan “Yoni,” was the only soldier killed in the mission.
Netanyahu said the implications of the Entebbe raid was that the world saw that it did not have to give in to terrorist demands. The anniversary of the rescue mission coincides with Israeli attempts to free Gilad Shalit, 19, the Israeli soldier kidnapped by Palestinians last week.
During a crisis such as this, supporters of Israel, such as Christians overseas, can help wage “perhaps the most important battle … the battle for truth,” he said. “We have no better friends than Christian Zionists around the world.”
“Tell it like it is, explain the truth,” Netanyahu said. “We are fighting evil forces.”
On July 4, 1976 Israeli commandos launched a surprise raid on the airport rescuing 100 hostages and killing all the pro-Palestinian hijackers. About 200 elite troops ran out and stormed the airport building. Twenty Ugandan soldiers, all seven hijackers and three hostages died in the attack.
The crisis began on June 27 with the hijacking of an Air France flight, from Israel to Paris via Athens, with 250 people on board. The hijackers diverted the plane to Entebbe and were joined there by three more terrorists. They demanded the release of 53 militants held in jails in Israel and four other countries. Ugandan dictator Idi Amin gave a speech at the airport supporting the hijackers and offering them extra troops and weapons.
The hijackers released all hostages except the 100 Israeli or Jewish passengers and then set a deadline for their demands to be met or they would blow up the airliner and its passengers. Their plan was foiled by the dramatic Israeli raid.
Netanyahu spoke on a variety of topics. The interview will be published in the August edition of israel today.