web analytics
April 20, 2015 / 1 Iyar, 5775
At a Glance
InDepth
Sponsored Post


Home » InDepth » Op-Eds »

Remembering Entebbe


Thirty-three years ago this week in Entebbe, Uganda, it took Israeli commandos mere minutes to conduct one of the greatest and most daring rescue missions in modern history.

During those brief fateful moments, good triumphed over evil; innocents were saved; and the terrorists who threatened them were routed.

As evening came to Entebbe on Saturday, July 3, it marked the seventh night that more than 100 Israelis, non-Israeli Jews and an Air France crew were being held at the Entebbe airport after two terrorists from the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine and two West German supporters, members of the Baader Meinhof gang, hijacked an Air France jet en route from Tel Aviv to Paris.

The terrorists had boarded the plane during a stopover in Athens on Sunday, June 27.

Supporting the terrorists and giving them cover was the Ugandan regime of Idi Amin Dada.

An initial July 1 deadline to meet the hijackers’ demands for the release of terrorists held in Israel and several other countries was extended to Sunday, July 4, after Israel stunned the world by agreeing to negotiate for the release of the hostages.

On July 1, the terrorists released all non-Jewish passengers. The Air France crew chose to stay with the remaining Jewish hostages. On July 3, French diplomats in on the negotiations said there was no hope for an agreement.

The Israeli government, led by Yitzhak Rabin in his first stint as prime minister, faced a terrible choice. Releasing the terrorists would embolden them to continue such operations. Not meeting the terrorists’ demands would result in a massacre.

With the July 4 deadline fast approaching and international attention focused on the hostages’ plight, several Israeli planes were on their way to Uganda, flying low to avoid enemy radar.

That night, the weary hostages were sound asleep except for a group of five playing bridge. Ugandan troops guarded the building.

The terrorists and their Ugandan enablers had no way of knowing that four C-130 Hercules aircraft packed with elite Israeli commandos had landed at the airport. (Two Boeing 707’s were included in the airborne armada, one as a forward command post, the other as a hospital.)

The commandos drove toward the terminal in a Black Mercedes with Land Rover escorts designed to trick the Ugandan guards into believing Idi Amin was paying a late-night visit. A couple of those guards approached the vehicles and were shot. Time was of the essence. A few seconds-delay could foil the entire operation. The Israelis headed toward the hostage compound. They burst in, identifying themselves to the stunned hostages as Israelis and warning them to keep low.

There were bursts of gunfire, and then it was over. The hostages were quickly escorted out and the planes headed home to Israel with a brief stop in Nairobi, Kenya, for refueling and medical treatment for some of the wounded.

The entire raid, from landing to takeoff, had consumed just fifty-three minutes. Several Soviet-made MiGs had been destroyed on the ground to prevent pursuit of the departing Israeli aircraft.

The operation was so chancy, and the risks so immense, that the Israeli cabinet had heartedly deliberated approval – which was given well after the commandos were in the air and en route to Uganda.

The mission’s overall commander, Brig. General Dan Shomron, later described the daring and extreme difficulties of the rescue mission.

“You had more than one hundred people sitting in a small room, surrounded by terrorists with their fingers on the trigger,” he said. “They could fire in a fraction of a second. We had to fly seven hours, land safely, drive to the terminal area where the hostages were being held, get inside, and eliminate the terrorists before any of them could fire.”

Eight terrorists (the four who’d hijacked the plane had been joined by four comrades at the airport) and at least 20 (some estimates claim more than 40) Ugandan troops were killed. Three hostages died during the exchange of gunfire. Israeli commando Surin Hershko was shot and paralyzed. Elderly passenger Dora Bloch, taken earlier from the airport to a local hospital due to breathing problems and stomach pains, was murdered by Ugandan soldiers the day after the rescue.

About the Author:


If you don't see your comment after publishing it, refresh the page.

Our comments section is intended for meaningful responses and debates in a civilized manner. We ask that you respect the fact that we are a religious Jewish website and avoid inappropriate language at all cost.

If you promote any foreign religions, gods or messiahs, lies about Israel, anti-Semitism, or advocate violence (except against terrorists), your permission to comment may be revoked.

No Responses to “Remembering Entebbe”

Comments are closed.

Current Top Story
Said Arikat, al-Quds Washington, D.C. reporter. Jan. 29, 2015
More PA Lobbying from the State Dept Briefing Room
Latest Indepth Stories
Temple Israel Of Boston

“The resentment towards us (Jews/Israelis) was really intense. They clearly hate Zionism & Zionists”

US has no problem with Egypt's bombing hundreds of homes of Gaza civilians but can't stand to see Israel destroy a terrorist's home.

Egypt has been more effective against Gazan smuggling tunnels than Israel’s military operations

Mrs. Golda Katz a"h

She had many names and was many things to many people, but to me she was just Babineni.

ISIS terrorist carries the group's black flag.

Is ISIS in Gaza? “No, but there are ISIS loyalists here..we pray to God they unite under ISIS’ flag”

Rabbi Portal was that great “inspirer,” changing people for the better, enriching the lives of all

Iran knows Obama, Putin, and the Europeans don’t have a Red Line beyond which they will go to war

There is no way to explain the Holocaust. I know survivors who are not on speaking terms with G-d. I know many who are the opposite. I have no right to go there…

When a whole side of your family perishes, friends become the extended family you do not have.

“We stand with Israel because of its values and its greatness and because its such a wonderful ally”

Mr. Obama himself inelegantly cautioned members of the Senate to be careful not to “screw up” the negotiations by seeking to have input into the future of the sanctions regime that has been imposed on Iran.

For our community, Mrs. Clinton’s foreign policy record will doubtless attract the most attention. And it is a most interesting one.

Mitchell Bard is nothing if not prolific. He has written and edited 23 books, including “The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Middle East” and “The Arab Lobby: The Invisible Alliance That Undermines America’s Interests in the Middle East.” Bard, who has a Ph.D. in political science from UCLA, is also the executive director of both the […]

Understanding the process described in Dayenu reveals deep relevance for us today.

For Rabbi Zvi Yehuda Kook, the tanks, planes, and uniforms of the IDF were implements of mitzvot

More Articles from Larry Domnitch
Colonel John Henry Patterson, Commander of the Jewish Legion

An eye-witness claimed, “British troops just stood by” while Arab attacked Jews in then Palestine

Red Line Obama

UN inspectors were flabbergasted when Iran allowed them full unfettered access to All nuclear sites

Expulsions perpetrated by the Russians during WWI were the worst against the Jews since Roman times.

Arab opposition to a Jewish State of any size was made known by word and deed in the form of terror

Rav Kook offered recognition to the British but not thanks; the British merely fulfilled its destiny

Germany’s The Jewish Faith newspaper ominously noted, “We Jews are in for a war after the war.”

Nearly two decades into the 20th century, Jews were suffering the horrors of pogroms, mass expulsions, starvation and disease in Eastern Europe while Jewish soldiers in various armies were enduring the carnage of the battlefield. Amid the horrors, however, a glimmer of hope appeared.

On November 11, 1918, at 11 a.m., an agreement signed between the Allies and Germany at Compiegne France, ended hostilities on the Western front and signaled the end of the First World War.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/indepth/opinions/remembering-entebbe/2009/07/01/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: