Situated in the south of Jerusalem, the project benefits from one of the city’s most prestigious and desirable locales, nestled in a particularly attractive area between the Talpiot neighborhood and the green groves of Kibbutz Ramat Rachel.
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.
Comments are closed.
Bibi’s speech to Congress will bring respect and honor to the Jewish Nation from the US & the world
Obama & Putin have handwriting/signature clues indicating differences between public & private life
It’s time for a new Jewish policy regarding Ramallah, NOT just because of the yarmulke incident
If Jackson were alive he’d denounce Democratic party’s silence towards virulent anti-Semitism
Victim of Palestinian Arab terrorism, a victor in NY federal court, after years of being ignored by Justice Dept.
March 2013: Arabs hurled stones hitting the Biton’s car; Adele’s mother swerved the car-into a truck
I can tell you that Cablevision has been astonished at how high we rank.
The real issue is that in many respects the president has sought to recalibrate American values and our system of government.
Former Connecticut senator Joe Lieberman, writing in the Washington Post on Sunday, provided one of the clearest and most compelling analyses we’ve seen of the importance of the prime minister’s speech.
A central concept in any discussion about happiness is achieving clarity. “Ain simcha ela k’hataras hasefeikos” – there is no joy as that experienced with the removal of doubt.
“Je Suis..,” like its famous origin 400 years ago, implies the ability & freedom to think & question
Many anti-Israel demonstrations at universities have a not-so-latent anti-Semitic agenda as well
Expulsions perpetrated by the Russians during WWI were the worst against the Jews since Roman times.
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.
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.
Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/indepth/opinions/remembering-entebbe/2009/07/01/
Scan this QR code to visit this page online: