Operation Entebbe was a miraculous counter-terrorist hostage-rescue mission carried out by commandos ofthe Israel Defense Forces(IDF) at Entebbe Airport, Uganda on 4 July 1976.A week earlier an Air France airplane with 248 passengers was hijacked by two Palestinians terrorists and two members of the German Revolutionary Cell with the stated objective of freeing 40 Palestinian and pro-Palestinian terrorists imprisoned in Israel, and 13 prisoners in four other countries, in exchange for the hostages. The flight was diverted to Entebbe, Uganda. The local government supported the hijackers. Dictator Idi Amin personally welcomed them. After moving all hostages to a disused airport building, the hijackers separated the Israelis from the larger group and forced them into a separate room.
Over the following two days, 148 non-Israeli hostages were released and flown to Paris. Some 90 (mainly) Israeli passengers with the 12-member Air France crew, remained hostage and were threatened with death. Entebbe AirportThe rescue operation took place at night and lasted 53 minutes. Israeli transport planes carried 100 commandos over an incredible distance of 4,000km to Uganda. All 102 hostages were rescued. Five Israeli commandos were wounded and one, the unit’s commander, Lt. Col. Yonatan Netanyahu, (older brother of current Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu) was killed. All the hijackers and 45 Ugandan soldiers were killed, and thirty Soviet-built MiG-17s and MiG-21s of Uganda’s air force were destroyed.
The Rebbe’s Talk
July 11, 1976
From time to time we are granted an opportunity to actually see in this physical world how quality prevails over quantity, how soul prevails over body, and how the Soul of the world rules over its physical veil, and how G-d fills and rules the world. One is immersed in mundane day to day life, seeing the cycle of night and day, planting and harvesting, winter and summer, cold and warmth, all continuous and predictable, appearing to be soul-less, mind-less, just rules of nature, with no explanation of why. No one understands. These are labeled as no more than “nature”, neither do we understand why these specific laws even exist. One’s cruder nature embellishes these to trap a person, that one give these the name “laws of nature” to free one from thinking of the Master of nature, of He Who created nature, and He gave nature its laws, as the verse itself says before G-d’s command in creation “the cycle of nature should not come to an end”, this coming from the Divine Will of the Creator of the world, ongoing, without end.
Therefore it is necessary from time to time to make it easier for us to come to the realization that there is a Master of this world, that G-d brings about awesome events that defy the laws and patterns of nature, to remind a person of the true reality of the world, that it is “G-d Who is the Truth of the world”. This brings us to the wondrous event which happened recently shaking both Jew and non-Jews.
We are referring to the miraculous rescue of tens of Jewish hostages from death and their return to a civilized land, to a “Good and Spacious Land”, “the Land where the Eyes of G-d gaze from the beginning to the end of the year.” There was no way of knowing how this could be achieved. We saw this with our own eyes how quality prevailed over quantity. The hostage takers and hostile countries, over which they flew, greatly outnumbered the IDF team arriving at Entebbe airport. Also, in the operation itself it was not numbers [the enemy], weapons or soldiers who won the day or determined who would prevail. To the contrary, forces with less soldiers and weapons were victorious. The quality of the liberators prevailed over the hostage takers. Moreover, regarding the rescuers themselves, quality prevailed over numbers, i.e. physical considerations allowed no logic to enter into this rescue. The body has no basic instinct or nature of self preservation to go into such a dangerous situation. Rather, their spiritual transcendence took over.
Upon arrival at the airport, what impelled the victory? They overlooked all norms of warfare of approaching the enemy with ear shattering blasts of intimidation, warnings and threats. Normally Israel engages in standard diplomatic formalities, consulting those that they consider allies around the world and non allies, and only then announce that they have sufficient weapons and troops and have received permission to move forward. Here, the victory came about by ignoring all calculations of time and space and opinions of others. Actually none of these calculations would have worked. There was no more than the smallest of chances of succeeding. This specifically was the “vessel” to receive G-d’s everlasting kindness; a miracle from G-d with which they succeeded. The first lesson to learn from this event is that we saw with our own eyes that there is a Master to the world. All calculations and advice from our “so-called allies” would have left no possibility to pull this operation off. It was G-d Who gave this idea to discard all considerations or allies. It is for us to proclaim that G-d is Master of the world; that the world is not autonomous. It is G-d Who is the grand Mover of the world in all its detail.