Netanyahu: Brother's Death in Famous Raid Still Haunts Me

Yonatan Netanyahu died at Entebbe in 1976
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Jul 4, 2016 3:44 PM CDT
Netanyahu: Brother's Death in Famous Raid Still Haunts Me
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu arrives at the Entebbe airport in Uganda.   (AP Photo/Stephen Wandera)

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu says his country's raid on Uganda's Entebbe airport 40 years ago, in which his brother was killed, profoundly "changed the course" of his life. Speaking shortly after his arrival in Uganda, Netanyahu praised Israel's commando raid on the airport that freed Israeli hostages from a hijacked plane, reports AP. "International terrorism suffered a stinging defeat," he said of the mission in July 1976. The Entebbe rescue is a seminal event in Israeli history and is widely seen as one of the country's greatest military successes. It also was a monumental event for Netanyahu, as the death of his brother, Yonatan, pushed him into the public eye and on a track that would take him to the country's highest office. Yonatan Netanyahu was struck by a bullet as he led Israeli commandos in the rescue mission.

“Often I have to dispatch people to places where if there’s a failure, they won’t come back,” Netanyahu tells the New York Times in an interview about the late Yonatan. “It’s in times like these that I consult with my brother—and they’re a lot more frequent than you might think.” Israel's success in the raid humiliated then-Ugandan President Idi Amin. Four decades later, Uganda has good relations with Israel, which is courting allies to counter Palestine's rising influence at the United Nations. But Netanyahu says the raid, in which three hostages were killed, remains personal. "Entebbe is always with me," he says. "It is deep in my heart." (More Benjamin Netanyahu stories.)

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