Israeli Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu has visited Uganda to commemorate the 1976 Entebbe raid which claimed the life of his brother, the leader of the rescue operation.
During the raid, the Israeli soldiers freed over 100 hostages held for a week at an airport terminal. 4th July marks the 40th anniversary of their return to Israel.
“Exactly 40 years ago Israeli soldiers carried out the historic mission in Entebbe. 40 years ago they landed in the dead of night in a country led by a brutal dictator who gave refuge to terrorists. Today we landed in broad daylight to be welcomed by a president who fights terrorism.”
For the significance of the Entebbe raid, Netanyahu is kicking off his first African tour with Uganda. He was welcomed by Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni. Netanyahu also has plans to visit Kenya, Ethiopia and Rwanda.
Benjamin will be the first Israeli prime minister to visit Sub-Saharan Africa since Yitzhak Shamir in 1987.
Also present at the occasion were Israeli survivors who were held captive and some of the soldiers who came to their rescue. Netanyahu’s brother Jonathan led the rescue mission to free hostages who were mainly Jews. An Air France flight conveying 248 passengers was hijacked by Palestinian and German militants.
The raid was a success but not without blood shed. Jonathan Netanyahu, the leader of the group lost his life; 4 hostages, 7 hostage-takers and 20 Ugandan troops were also killed. The captain and crew of the airplane survived the Entebbe raid.
“I learned from my brother that you need two things to defeat the terrorists: clarity and courage.”
“When terrorism succeeds in one place it spreads to other places, and when terrorism is defeated anywhere it is weakened everywhere. This is why Entebbe… was a victory for all humanity.”- Benjamin Netanyahu
It is largely speculated that the Israeli prime minister has plans to foster bilateral agreements between the country and several African countries, Kenya most especially.
During the Entebbe raid, Kenya had co-operated with Israel. The east African country permitted them to use their air space to arrest the hostage situation.
President Netanyahu reportedly made this historical visit to Uganda with approximately 80 business leaders from over 50 companies in order to forge commercial ties with African companies and countries.