‘We thought this would be the end of us’: the raid on Entebbe, 40 years on | World news | The Guardian

With Rami Sherman’s arrival in a couple of weeks, here is an informative retrospective on Operation Entebbe published in the Guardian in June 2016.

On 4 July 1976, the day the US celebrated its 200th birthday, an Israeli expat took a phone call that would change his life. A student in Cambridge, Massachusetts, he went by the name Ben Nitay, an Americanised shortening of the original, the better to fit into the land where he hoped to forge a business career and build a life. On the phone was his younger brother, calling with grave news. It concerned their older brother Yonatan, or Yoni. As children, they had idolised him; he was the one who led their games, who, they felt, had raised them. Then 30 years old, ruggedly handsome and newly installed as the head of Israel’s elite Sayeret Matkal commando unit, Yoni had, in the early hours of that day, led a raid to rescue more than 100 Israeli hostages held at Entebbe, Uganda. Word had just come that the operation had been an astonishing success and the hostages were free. But the leader on the ground – Yoni – had been killed in action. Their brother was dead.

And so, while the people around him watched marching bands and held street parties to mark America’s bicentennial, and while the world marvelled at the sheer audacity of a military raid that defied all odds, Ben Nitay – born Binyamin Netanyahu – made the seven-hour drive to Cornell University in Ithaca, New York, where his father was teaching. The 26-year-old was determined to break the news to his parents himself.

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