Join Meir Panim’s campaign to “light up” Chanukah for families in need.
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.
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The decision to not publicly light the Menorah in Sydney, epitomizes the eternal dilemma of Judaism and Jews in the Diaspora.
Am Yisrael is one family, filled with excruciating pain&sorrow for losing the 4 kedoshim of Har Nof
What is its message of the dreidel?” The complexity and hidden nature of history and miracles.
Police play down Arab terrorism as mere “violence” until the truth can no longer be hidden.
The 7 branches of the menorah represent the 7 pillars of secular wisdom, knowledge, and science.
Obama obtained NO verifiable commitments from Cuba it would desist from acts prejudicial to the US
No one would deny that the program subjected detainees to less than pleasant treatment, but the salient point is, for what purpose?
For the past six years President Obama has consistently deplored all Palestinian efforts to end-run negotiations in search of a UN-imposed agreement on Israel.
It’s not an admiration. It is simply a kind of journalist fascination. It stands out, it’s different from more traditional Orthodoxy.
For Am Yisrael, the sun’s movements are subservient to the purpose of our existence.
Israelis now know Arab terrorism isn’t caused by Israeli occupation but by ending Israeli occupation
Anti-Semitism is a social toxin that destroys the things that people most cherish and enjoy.
Amb. Cooper highlighted the impact of the Chanukah/Maccabee spirit on America’s Founding Fathers
Arab opposition to a Jewish State of any size was made known by word and deed in the form of terror
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.
On the eve of the Six-Day War, Israel stood alone.
The events of June 1967 came just a decade after the 1956 Sinai Campaign waged by Israel, France and Great Britain to protect international passage through the Suez Canal.
Had Judge Richard Goldstone only issued a distorted litany of accusations against the Jewish state – dayenu.
Had the British government only issued an arrest warrant against Kadima leader and former Israeli foreign minister Tzipi Livni – dayenu.
Last month, Israel lost a very close friend in Alexander Haig.
During his confirmation hearings in January 1981for the position of secretary of state, Haig reiterated his commitment to the existing U.S. policy of not dealing with the PLO or other Palestinians opposed to Israel’s existence.
Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/indepth/opinions/remembering-entebbe/2009/07/01/
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