During Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s visit to Uganda this week, he and his wife Sara laid a wreath near the memorial sign for Operation Entebbe, which is posted on the control tower at Entebbe Airport.
Prime Minister Netanyahu by the memorial sign:
“This is the fifth time that I am standing in this place, a few meters from where my brother Yoni fell. This always causes waves of emotion, of longing and of pride.
When my wife and I came here with our two sons on one of the visits, President Museveni arranged a memorial ceremony here for the soldier who fell, which was truly incredibly moving. Afterward in the tent on the side, I asked him – it was unusual to establish here a memorial to a foreign unit that entered by force, and also took the lives of many Ugandan soldiers.
He said: ‘I want you to understand the significance of the operation. We fought Idi Amin, who slaughtered 500,000 Ugandans. We were in the jungle and we heard about the raid on Entebbe and we understood then that it is possible to defeat evil.’ And this is what the memorial behind me says, that with courage, strength of spirit and heroism, it is possible to overcome any evil.”
I think that this is what Entebbe symbolizes and this is what, to a large degree, symbolized Yoni’s life and death.”
On June 27, 1976, two Palestinians and two Germans terrorists hijacked an Air France flight from Tel Aviv to Paris during a stopover in Athens. After a brief refueling in Benghazi, Libya, the plane was flown to Entebbe.
The hijackers separated about 100 Jewish and Israeli passengers from the rest and threatened to kill them if Israel did not free dozens of Palestinian prisoners.
On July 4, 1976, Israel launched a secret rescue operation in which some 200 soldiers took part in an airborne raid on the Entebbe airport. They successfully killed the hijackers, freed nearly all the hostages and left for Israel within less than an hour.
Yonatan Netanyahu, who commanded the successful raid, was the sole Israeli military casualty. Following his death, the Israeli government renamed the mission “Operation Yonatan.”