“In another week I’ll be 23. On me, on us, the young men of Israel, rests the duty of keeping our country safe. This is a heavy responsibility, which matures us early… I do not regret what I have done and what I’m about to do. I’m convinced that what I am doing is right. I believe in myself, in my country and in my future”
-Yonatan Netanyahu in a letter to his parents in 1969
Benzion Netanyahu was professor of history at Cornell University. He had three sons – Yonatan, Benjamin and Iddo. Yonatan was a brilliant student who joined Harvard University. In 1969 Yonatan left his studies and decided to join Israeli army. Yonatan was part of elite commando unit of Israeli army- Sayeret Matkal.
In same year, in faraway Uganda, President Milton Obote was having problems with his army commander Idi Amin. Two years later Idi Amin overthrew Obote in a military coup and declared himself as President of Uganda.
After becoming president, Idi Amin killed people who he believed were his enemies. Thousands of people were killed.
In 1972, he made Europeans and Asians his target, he grabbed their property and distributed it among his sycophants. Indians in Uganda were mainly businessmen whose prosperity was due to their hard work and business acumen. After grabbing their property he drove Indians out of Uganda.
“We are determined to make the ordinary Ugandan master of his own destiny and, above all, to see that he enjoys the wealth of his country. Our deliberate policy is to transfer the economic control of Uganda into the hands of Ugandans, for the first time in our country’s history.”
— Idi Amin
Idi Amin later declared himself anti-Israeli. In June 1976 an Air France airliner was hijacked by Palestinians. Idi Amin allowed hijackers to land flight in Uganda at Entebbe airport and personally welcomed the hijackers.
Israel decided to rescue the passengers. It sent a commando team to Uganda. The rescue operation called Operation Entebbe was well planned operation. The commandos rescued most of the passengers (3 hostages got killed), killed hijackers and 45 Ugandan soldiers. They also destroyed fighter planes of Ugandan Air Force.
In this operation only one Israeli commando got killed- Yonatan Netanyahu.
One 75 years old lady Dora Bloch got left behind as she was in hospital during operation. Ugandan Army took revenge by killing her.
“A bullet had torn the young heart of one of Israel’s finest sons, one of its most courageous warriors, one of its most promising commanders – the magnificent Yonatan Netanyahu”
– Shimon Peres
In 1979, Tanzanian army along with Ugandan exiles attacked Uganda and defeated Idi Amin. Idi Amin escaped to Libya and later settled down in Saudi Arabia where he died in 2003.
Yonatan’s brother Benjamin is current prime minister of Israel.