A year after the passing of Israel’s 9th President Shimon Peres, the Israeli Defense Ministry’s IDF Archives has released a rare tape recording from Operation Entebbe. Then Defense Minister Shimon Peres and Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin are heard interviewing the plane hostages and the rescue operation’s commanders upon their return to Israel.
41 years after Operation Entebbe and exactly one year after the passing of Israel’s 9th President Shimon Peres, who served as the country’s defense minister at the time, the Israeli Defense Ministry’s IDF Archives has released a rare tape recording from the July 1976 operation. Peres and then Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin are heard in the recording interviewing the plane hostages and the rescue operation’s commanders as they landed at Ben Gurion Airport.
In the beginning of the recording, Peres and Rabin are heard interviewing some of the passengers and flight crew who were on the hijacked plane:
Peres: “I understand the crew was kept in the bathroom of the ladies? You were separated from the passengers?”
Crew member: “No.”
Peres: “You were together. How many terrorists were there? You have an idea?”
Crew member: “Seven to nine.”
Rabin: “The passengers appreciate very much the way that you took care of them under these very difficult conditions and we appreciate it very much.”
Peres: “Thank you very much for your bravery.”
Photo Credit: Ori Herzl Zahik/IDF Archives
After interviewing several Israeli passengers, Rabin spoke to the soldiers who carried out the mission. “I think that this operation, for a number of reasons, went above and beyond what was once acceptable,” Rabin said. “You didn’t simply save people, but rather you changed the perception and image of Israel. And for that, well done.”
Following Rabin’s speech, Peres also addressed the soldiers. “You left a very worried country and you’re returning to a very proud country and it’s all thanks to you,” Peres stated. “You took a risk maybe more than you know. There was long-term action and it was executed in an exemplary and perfect manner.”