Micheal O'BrienMicheal O'Brien
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Remembering Yoni Netanyahu

"I see with sorrow how a part of the people still clings to hopes of reaching a peaceful settlement with the Arabs. Common sense tells them that the Arabs haven't abandoned their basic aim of destroying the state; but the self-delusion and self-deception that have always plagued the Jews are at work again.

It's our great misfortune.


They want to believe, so they believe. They want not to see, so they shut their eyes. They want not to learn from thousands of years of history, so they distort it. It would be comic if it weren't so tragic." 

-- Lt. Col. Yoni Netanyahu, IDF, 1973

Two weeks ago we remembered the life and accomplishments of an American hero. Today we remember another special person.

This is a time when a big win against terror would be most welcome the world over. That was also true this time in 1976 when the courageous IDF Lt. Col. Yoni Netanyahu  led Israeli special forces to Entebbe, Uganda and rescued 106 airline hostages held there by a group of terrorists that still exists today. The mission was an historic success unrivalled since that time.

What Netanyahu's clandestine operation should remind us is that Israelis and Jews the world over have been the victims of unspeakable terrorist acts for more than six decades. North Americans have endured the same for only a few years.

What stands out about Netanyahu's daring sortie is the impossibility of the task. All seemed hopeless as Tel Aviv was under enormous pressure from around the world to give into the demands of the terrorists who wanted fifty-three of their kind freed from Israeli prisons.

General Dan Shomron knew the terrorists would kill the hostages regardless of what conditions were met. He rightly chose an extraordinary  special operations officer, Yonatan Netanyahu, to lead the mission. 

Shomron told the Israeli Prime Minister that Netanyahu was a courageous man and above all an inspirational leader of his soldiers. If anyone could pull this off, it was Netanyahu.

Netanyahu's mission was an unequivocal success despite costing him his life. He died at the age of thirty aboard an extraction aircraft leaving Uganda. His brother Ben Netanyahu went on to become Prime Minister if Israel. 

Our thoughts this week go to the surviving family members who will once again remember not just the tragic loss of their fearless Yoni but the incredible hope he brought to those who had otherwise lost hope.



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