By: Jen Russon
In 1976, an Air France flight bound from Paris to Tel Aviv carrying 254 passengers was hijacked by Palestinian and German terrorists, who diverted the flight to Africa.
The Ugandan dictator, Idi Amin ordered that the remaining hostages, which included Air France crew, be detained in the abandoned air terminal at Entebbe Airport.
Reuven, along with others in the Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) Thunderbolt rescue mission had 48 hours to plan their operation, and a single hour to execute it. Five Israeli commandos were ultimately wounded and tragically, the unit commander, Lt. Col. Yonatan Netanyahu, the older brother of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, was killed. All the hijackers, three hostages and 45 Ugandan soldiers were also killed.
After their mission was accomplished, they managed to free the hostages, get them on a plane bound for Nairobi and eventually home. This mission has been described by historians as not just a defining moment in Israeli history, but as a message to the international community that terrorism will not stand.
On Monday, January 7, 2019, Sassy Reuven, a veteran of the IDF elite red beret paratrooper unit, will speak about his personal experiences during Operation Thunderbolt, the most famous hostage rescue mission to date by the IDF.
Reuven participated in several covert operations, including the notorious raid on Entebbe on July 4, 1976 which saved almost one hundred hostages – most of them Jewish – that were being held.
The executive director and host of the event, Rabbi Avraham Friedman is excited to welcome Reuven to the Chabad.
“With God’s help, the raid on Entebbe was the most successful rescue mission to date. It is symbolic of Israel’s lead role in fighting terror and sends a clear and unwavering message that she will never abandon her people,” said Friedman.
He said this is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to get a front row seat into this dangerous and miraculous mission that has never been attempted by any nation in the world, before or since.
Reuven has traveled the world as a guest speaker and the raid on Entebbe has been adapted into films and documentaries. The story is the stuff of James Bond.
The Chabad of Coral Springs welcomes the public to join them. The cost is $15 in advance or $20 at the door. For more information or to reserve tickets, click here.
The Chabad of Coral Springs is located at 3925 N. University Drive. The event is at 7:30 p.m.
Jen Russon is a freelance writer and English Language Arts teacher. She has published two novels to Amazon Kindle and lives in Coral Springs with her family.