Entebbe 40 Years Later

Dr. Joseph Frager,

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צילום: ערוץ 7
Dr. Joseph Frager
The writer is a leading American pro-Israel activist who sponsors and coordinates many Zionist events. He is clinical Assistant Professor, Department of Medicine (Gastroenterology & Liver Diseases) at the Einstein School of Medicine as well as a practicing physician.

Ben Gurion said, "In Israel in order to be a realist you must believe in miracles." I had just finished college.

One of the greatest miracles of my life occurred on July 4th, 1976. It was the raid by Israel's Defense Forces on the Entebbe Airport to free 106 Hostages. It was daring and dramatic. It was miraculous. Unfortunately, the Prime Minister's older brother Lt. Colonel Yonatan Netanyahu was killed in the operation. He had been the Unit Commander of the Assault Team from the Sayeret Matkal elite force. Having spoken to General Efie Eitam at length about the Entebbe Raid, I came away with a new understanding and appreciation of just how great a miracle this was.

He had been very much part of the action and explained how hard the IDF tried to save Yonatan Netanyahu's life. He also recounted how the IDF was originally planning to be parachuted into Lake Victoria in rubber rafts. At the last minute, the IDF decided that it was too risky because Lake Victoria was infested with crocodiles.It all began on June 27th, 1976 when an Air France plane was hijacked with 248 passengers on board by the PFLP. Four Hijackers boarded the plane in a stopover in Athens. Two of the hijackers were German.The plane was diverted first to Benghazi, Libya. (As an aside, had America done what Israel did at Entebbe, Ambassador Stevens who was killed in Benghazi on September 11, 2012 might have survived). From Benghazi the plane was flown to Entebbe Airport in Uganda (as another aside Theodore Herzl in 1903 had proposed Uganda as a Homeland for Jews-how very ironic).

Jews were separated from Non-Jews much as the Nazis used to separate those to live from those for "extermination". 94 Israelis and 12 members of the Air France crew remained and were threatened with death. One Israeli woman with British citizenship, Dora Bloch age 75 was taken to the Mulago Hospital in Kampala  having choked  on a chicken bone. She and her Doctors were brutally murdered by Idi Amin's soldiers. Prior to the raid by the IDF, Baruch (Burka) Bar Lev spoke to Idi Amin many times. Bar Lev had helped Idi Amin come to power in 1971. My dear friend and colleague Dr. Manfred R. Lehmann who was in Kenya at the time was on his way to speak to Idi Amin as well to convince him to release the hostages.

This was relayed to me by Dr. Manfred R. Lehmann of Blessed Memory himself. Kenya was very helpful to the operation's success allowing Israeli C-130 transport planes to refuel. The Kenyan Agriculture Minister, Bruce Mackenzie, was assassinated by Idi Amin in 1978 for his efforts on behalf of Israel. Israel sent 100 commandos over 2500 miles to carry out the raid. All four hijackers were killed. Unfortunately, 3 hostages were killed as well. 45 Ugandan soldiers were killed. Idi Amin killed 100's of Kenyans living in Uganda after the raid because of Kenya's vital role.

The UN Security Council on July 9, 1976 condemned Israel. Kurt Waldheim who was the UN Chief at the time (later was discovered to have been a Nazi SS Officer during WWII) called the raid, "a serious violation of the sovereignty of a member state of the United Nations". The United Nations continues to this very day to bash Israel at every opportunity. The world can learn the lessons of Entebbe. Terrorists must be sought out no matter where they are. The terrorist must know he or she can never hide. Israel and the world will find you.

There must be zero tolerance for Terrorism. Commando Operations like Entebbe must be replicated the world over. Yonatan Netanyahu's memory should be for a Blessing. He carried out one of the greatest miracles of all time. He is a Hero for Eternity.