On the eve of the 39th anniversary of the historic Operation Thunderbolt, the rescue of Jewish and Israeli citizens kidnapped by terrorists and held captive at Entebbe Airport in 1976, commandos involved in the daring raid provided commentary for an animated video detailing this heroic story for students around the world.
The video is the second in the ‘Zionism in Animation’ series of 100 videos detailing the most important events and central characters behind the story of Zionism and the establishment of the State of Israel.
“The story of the Entebbe rescue, perhaps more than any other single event, encapsulates the Zionist ethos of the Jewish State, which takes responsibility for the Jewish People regardless of the danger and risk,” said Shlomo Blass, CEO of Rogatka, the company which produced the video.
“The events that took place almost four decades ago inspired a generation in Israel and I believe stories like these can inspire the Jewish People around the world again, especially when they are faced with so many distortions and the continued assault on Israel’s very legitimacy,” Blass explained.
“I know that the spirit which successfully completed the rescue mission against all the odds will also see us overcome any threats we face today, and it is important that we are all aware of this moment which continues to be a defining point for our nation.”
The video chronicles the events from the hijacking of the France Air plane subsequently diverted to Entebbe, to the deliberations over what seemed like an impossible task and the enactment of the rescue mission itself, with many of those involved in the mission itself giving advice to the production team over every detail to ensure the utmost accuracy.
Iftach Atir-Reicher, who was Deputy Commander of the Sayeret Matkal unit that executed the raid, and Amir Ofer, who was the first commando to reach the hostages, take the viewer through some of the key moments of the mission as they experienced them in the Ugandan Airport all those years ago.
In addition, Natan Sharansky, Chairman of the Jewish Agency and former Prisoner of Zion in the USSR, relates how important the Entebbe operation was for Jews around the world – especially those like him sitting in jail for his Zionist beliefs.
“During my nine years in prison each time I saw an airplane in the sky I thought of Entebbe,” narrates Sharansky in the video. “Each time I knew that an Israeli airplane would come to take me home.”
Rogatka has made animated videos for various institutions including the Prime Minister’s Office and the Foreign Ministry, which have been seen by tens of millions of people around the world in multiple languages.