Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Tuesday reminded the world of the IDF’s capabilities, speaking during a Knesset ceremony marking the 37-year anniversary of Operation Yonatan, the raid on Uganda’s Entebbe airport to free over 100 passengers held hostage after a terrorist hijacking.
“The threats upon us for the past 37 years continue,” said Netanyahu. “But the example of Entebbe shows we can overcome them, and today, too, I say that there is no place that the IDF’s long arm will not reach in order to defend the state of Israel.”
The ceremony was initiated by MK Omer Bar-Lev (Labor), who participated in the Entebbe rescue.
A week after Palestinian and German terrorists hijacked an Air France flight from Tel Aviv, forcing it to land in Uganda, commandos from the elite Sayeret Matkal unit shocked the world by flying to Entebbe Airport on July 4, 1976, and rescuing the passengers.
Netanyahu’s brother Yonatan commanded the operation, and was the only IDF casualty. The raid was named after him posthumously.
MK Shelly Yachimovich (Labor), leader of the opposition, responded to Netanyahu’s statement by urging him to take steps toward a peace agreement. “The decisions that must be taken by a leader are not the same in every generation,” she told him after praising the Entebbe operation. “The long and alert arm needs to be extended for missions of peace as well.
“Just as bravery is demanded in the war on terror, bravery, daring, wisdom and cohesion are demanded in order to ensure our existence here as a strong and just Jewish democratic state,” she said. “Go with bravery and ferocity to a comprehensive process that will ensure the continuation of the state of Israel as a Jewish democratic state.”