This will appear in the Farmerville Gazette, Farmerville, Louisiana, USA the week of 3/23/2015.

Last week Benjamin Netanyahu was re-elected as the Prime Minister of Israel. This re-election was a surprise to many as it was thought that Netanyahu would lose the election. This was a testament to Netanyahu and reinforced that Israel understands his hard line when it comes to Israeli security. Much of this stance comes from the world that he was raised in and has connections to one of the most dramatic commando actions in history.
The world was introduced to Benjamin Netanyahu in 1990. CNN was interviewing him during Desert Storm when Tel Aviv Israel came under SCUD attack. I recall how he took the air-raid sirens very seriously and in one swift move had his gas mask over his face and adjusted. He then very calmly and coolly continued with the interview. Ironically, this was also about the last broadcast from Israel to reach Saudi Arabia. Future live broadcasts from Israel would be stopped and the Saudis showed pictures of flowers and played music until CNN would complete the coverage. Netanyahu’s reaction to the SCUD attacks is what would be expected from a person that was raised in a climate of being in a militarily defensive posture since the country was founded. It was his homeland that launched a surgically precise commando raid that predated the SEAL raid on the Maersk Alabama and the Osama Bin Laden raid by almost forty years.
On June 27th 1976 four hijackers at Athens airport walked onto Air France flight 139 and later hijacked the plane. Having originated in Israel, the flight had a large number of Israeli citizens on board. The terrorist were from the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine – External Operations plus two members from a German terrorist cell. The plane ultimately flew to Entebbe, Uganda.
When the plane landed in Entebbe the notorious Ugandan dictator Idi Amin visited the hostages that were being held at an abandoned terminal. He would do this daily as he updated the hostages on negotiations and assured them that he felt negotiations would be successful. The Palestinians declared that they would begin killing Israeli hostages on July 1st. The Israeli’s would not wait for diplomatic actions to fail and watch as their citizens would be systematically executed. Eventually the majority of the non-Israeli hostages were released and flown to Paris. Israel bought time by stating they were willing to negotiate. This provided an opportunity for much needed planning and practicing for what was to happen. It also provided Ugandan President for Life, Idi Amin, an opportunity to be out of the country on the day that the Palestinians gave as the date the hostages would begin to be killed.
The Israeli’s are famous for thinking outside the box and it is this ability that has kept the country from being overrun for over seventy years. The commando raid to free the innocent citizens at the Entebbe Airport is a prime example of this. On July 3rd the raid was approved by the Israeli cabinet. Secret negotiations took place with Kenya to allow the Israeli planes to refuel en-route to Uganda. The Israeli commandos had built a replica of the terminal to practice much as the SEALS did for the Obama mission. Israel’s intelligence organization, moussed, provided a wealth of information.
The planes flew down the Red Sea at an altitude of no more than one hundred feet. On America’s 200th anniversary, July 4ht, 1976, the commandos arrived at Entebbe. A Mercedes rolled out the back of one plane just like Idi Amin would have done. Land Rovers followed just as Amin’s guard would have done; only these were full of Israeli soldiers.
When the Israeli’s burst into the terminal a firefight immediately took place and in quick succession all the terrorist were killed. Three hostages were killed in the crossfire and one 75 year old women that was hospitalized in the city was dragged from her bed by two Ugandan Officers and executed. Among those hostages that were saved was a holocaust survivor from World War II.
All the hijackers were killed as were Ugandan soldiers that were present to support the terrorist. Other Israeli planes landed and armored personnel carriers deployed and destroyed the Ugandan fighter aircraft on the ground to insure safe passage back to Israel. Quickly the hostages were loaded onto Israeli military air craft and left for home. Among them was the body of the only Israeli military man killed in the battle. He was the commander of the commandos that had so effectively executed the mission. This commander was American born, high school classmate of Reggie Jackson, Professor Emeritus of History at Cornel and was enrolled in Harvard before going to Israel to fight in the army. He eventually headed the elite Commando unit, Sayeret Matkal. The name of this commander is Yonatan “Yoni” Netanyahu, older brother of Benjamin Netanyahu, the newly re-elected Prime Minister of Israel.

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