African Jewish pride shines at Entebbe event
A major event commemorating the fortieth anniversary of the Entebbe raid in Uganda, in which Israeli commandos rescued hostages being held by German and Palestinian terrorists after hijacking their plane, was held on Monday 4 July 2016.
Among the many guests of honour were Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and heads of other African states. Also present, were the “Top-Three” of the African Jewish Congress (AJC) – president Ann Harris, vice president Geoff Ramoghadi and CEO Rabbi Moshe Silberhaft.
The AJC party are following Netanyahu’s three-day, four country whirlwind African tour.
RIGHT (from left): AJC president Ann Harris, vice president Geoff Ramoghadi and CEO Rabbi Moshe Silberhaft next to the monument detailing the history of the occasion?
Harris told Jewish Report from Kenya on Tuesday that “The African Jewish Congress was privileged to be invited to attend the commemoration of the fortieth anniversary of the Entebbe Raid. The invitation came from the Israel Ministry of Foreign Affairs’ Africa Desk with which the AJC works closely,” said Harris.
‘Travelling Rabbi’ Moshe Silberhaft told JR Online that there was a large IDF military presence at the event and that “many of the hostages, pilots and their families” from the original raid were in attendance.
There was also a strong Israeli business delegation, said Silberhaft, as well as a number of high level IDF military personal.
“The terminal building where the hostages were held and then rescued is being converted into a museum displaying this historic event in Jewish history,” Silberhaft told JR Online.
Ann Harris recounted how on July 4, 1976, after a plane carrying over 100 Israelis was hijacked by terrorists to Entebbe, the Israel Defence Force mounted a daring raid which successfully rescued them, leaving five dead, among whom was the leader of the mission, Lieutenant Yonatan Netanyahu.
“The ceremony took place at the foot of the tower in the airport where the Israeli group began its assault,” Ann Harris told Jewish Report Online. Most of the guests at the ceremony, she said, were survivors of the raid and their families – together with large Israeli “military and trade missions,” said Harris.
“They were joined by the Heads of State of seven Central African countries and many Ugandan government personnel.”
A poignant Netanyahu at the graveside of his older brother Yonatan, the only IDF casualty of the raid
The host was President Musoveni of Uganda, and the guest of honour Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu, younger brother of Yonatan, Ann Harris said today.
“Wreaths were laid and a plaque unveiled. Mr Netanyahu thanked Uganda for its invitation to hold the event and said that not only were many lives saved, but the action was seen as a turning point in the fight against terrorism as it was then.”
Harris says that the raid fulfilled the important Jewish duty of freeing the captive.
“President Musoveni spoke movingly about the parts of the Bible which confirm Jews’ right to exist in the land of Israel,” Harris told JR Online, “and expressed his hope and that of his government that a two state solution would soon come about through goodwill on both sides. He criticised sharply those who condemn Israel as an Apartheid state.
Ann Harris said that the event was a wonderful example of memory and courage and confirmed the duty of all states to combat terrorism in all its forms
In 2006, when Netanyahu was in between his two stints as Israel’s prime minister, unveiled the plaque where his older brother, Lt -Col. Yonatan (Yoni) Netanyahu, was shot. AJC CEO Rabbi Silberhaft also attended the 2006 commemoration.
The Israelis produced this special tour logo for the trip