Rambling ...

I'm an Irish Girl, A Dubliner, with the 'Gift of the Gab' ... I like to talk & to tell you things. In Celtic times news, views and comment were carried from place to place by wandering Seanachaí ~ Storytellers ~ who relied on their host's hospitality and appreciation. I will need that from you too, as I venture to share Politics, Poetry, Laughter, Love, Life & everything in-between ... from Bog to Blog!!

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Today is Thunderbolt Time!!!

 Today is 6th day of the Hebrew month of Tamuz,  which On the 6th of Tammuz, 1976, as America was celebrating its bicentennial, ~ it corresponded to July 4th that year  ~ Independance Day ~ & Israeli commandos performed a spectacular raid to rescue 100 Jews held hostage at Entebbe airport in Uganda, which not only granted them Independance from their captors but allowed them life.  Jewish Life. 

And as a little girl to mark one 4th July,  'Independance Day'  we watched the made for TV movie 'Raid on Entebbe'  (1977).   It marked a very real event & It impressed me .... it made the concepts of  being a Jew in an anti semitic world,  Avodah she-ba-lev,  Achdut,  Ahavat Yisrael and  the decisive Importance of the Jewish State of Israel,  Independance etc.,  so very real to me in a new way.  I usually rewatch the movie around this weekend & have reviewed it and written about this event (tying it to the rescue/release of Gilad Shalit in previous years) at this time. Tammuz 6th.   And although we have missed Movie Monday.........

"Raid on Entebee"  is a docu-drama relating how the 'palestinian  Liberation Organisation'  ~ The PLO ~  hi-jacked a plane full of Israelis in 1976 and took them to Uganda.  It is really the story of the Israeli response which was both swift and precise. Then, we did not negotiate with our enemies who kidnapped our fellow Jews, nor did we petition any international body, we did what was neccesary  and freed our fellow Jews. . A famous soldier was sadly killed during this operation ~ Yonatan Netanyahu, the only Israeli commando who died that night.   He is the brother of the present Israeli Prime Minister, Benyamin Netanyahu.

It took Israeli commandos minutes to conduct one of the greatest and most daring rescue missions in modern history, in  Entebbe, Uganda, on July 4, 1976.  During those brief fateful moments, good triumphed over evil ~ the innocent were saved and the terrorists who threatened them were routed.

It was 11:30 pm Saturday night.  The seventh night that over 100 Israelis, non-Israeli Jews, and the twelve-member Air France crew were held in the Entebbe airport since the PFLP (Popular Front for the Liberation of palestine) terrorists and two West German supporters, members of the Baader Meinhof gang, hijacked a jet while on the ground in Athens. Supporting the terrorists and giving them cover was the Ugandan regime under Idi Amin or simply 'Dada'.  In the prior decade, Uganda had received military and non-military aid from Israel prior to severing ties in 1967. 

The plane was bound from Tel Aviv to Paris. It was diverted to Benghazi airport in Libya for refuelling and then headed for Entebbe.

The final deadline to meet the hijackers' demands and release forty terrorists held in Israel and thirteen in West Germany, Switzerland, France and Kenya, was steadily approaching. Negotiations managed to postpone the approaching July 1 deadline for three days. On July 1, the non-Jewish passengers were released by the terrorists. The Air France crew chose to stay with the remaining hostages. On July 3, French diplomats involved in the negotiations stated that there was no hope for an agreement. Releasing the terrorists would embolden them to continue such operations. Not meeting the terrorists' demands could result in a massacre.

As international attention was focused upon the events, Israeli planes made their way to Uganda flying under radar over the Red Sea, in order to avoid detection by the Egyptians and Saudis. They soon landed and the operation commenced. That night, the weary hostages were sound asleep except for a group of five playing bridge. The hijackers were also within the complex. There were also about eighty Ugandan troops guarding the building. At that moment, three Hercules personnel transports with Israel's elite 'Sayeret Matkal' commandos,  along with medical teams, had just landed at the well-lit Entebbe airport without suspicion.

The commandos drove toward the terminal in a Black Mercedes with Land Rover escorts, tricking Ugandan guards to believe that Idi Amin was visiting. Guards soon approached the vehicles and were shot, the ruse was now over. Time was of the essence. A few seconds delay could foil the entire operation. Taking a chance that the airport complex was not booby trapped, they headed toward the hostage compound. Nearby, seven parked Soviet-made MIGS were hastily destroyed, preventing pursuit of the Israeli aircraft after the operation. The commandos were just a few hundred yards away. They burst in, alerting the stunned hostages that they were Israelis and to keep low. Some shouted out the word nes, Hebrew for "miracle".

Over the next 45 seconds, there were bursts of gunfire, and then the firing ended. The hostages were quickly escorted on board the Hercules transports, which headed home to Israel via a brief stop in Nairobi, Kenya, for refueling and medical treatment for some of the wounded. The entire raid lasted fifty-three minutes. It took fifty-three minutes to thwart the plans of the PFLP.

The operation was so daring, the Israeli cabinet repeatedly deliberated, and only decided to proceed at the last minute, within hours of the deadline. The mission's overall commander, Brigadier-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. 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."   The seven hijackers and approximately twenty Ugandan troops died.  Three hostages were killed during the gunfire exchange.


Israeli Commando Surin Hershko was paralyzed when he was shot while on a diversionary tactic. One passenger,  Dora Bloch,  a Jewish British citizen, who was hospitalized earlier for stomach pains, was murdered the next day by Ugandan soldiers.    The rescue operation, originally named Operation Thunderbolt, was renamed 'Operation Yonatan' in honour of the operation's commander, Yonatan Netanyahu, 30 ~ One of my childhood Heroes ~ who was cut down by a Ugandan sentry as he was about to enter the compound. Netanyahu believed from the outset that the plan was doable and his confidence influenced government leaders and his fellow commandos. On that day, one of Israel's greatest soldiers was slain.

In the UN General Assembly, some praised the mission, others condemned and criticized. No matter. All words aside, heroic actions spoke on that triumphant day.  We Jews have a duty of Zachor ... to remember as anti-semitism is galvanised globally against us today.   We need to be Jews.  It is what we are & we do best when we live as Jews as Torah instructs.   Not as apologists for an uncaring & Jew hating world.    When we remember who we are & act accordingly ... so too does Ha'Shem. 

Hine ma tov uma nayim shevet achim gam yachad .... 

We must remember this .... it is what will bring Mashiach.  
& this is my very favourite part of the movie.  I shall watch again this weekend!

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