Prime Minister Narendra Modi who reached Israel on Tuesday mentioned the sacrifices of the elder brother of Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in his inaugural speech. Yonatan Netanyahu was killed 41 years ago during Operation Entebbe while trying to save the lives of Israeli hostages in Uganda in 1976.
“Today is July 4. Exactly 41 years ago, since Operation Entebbe. The day, when your prime minister and my friend Bibi lost his elder brother Yonatan while saving the lives of so many Israeli hostages,” Modi said in his brief address at the Ben Gurion airport in Tel Aviv. “Your heroes are an inspiration for the younger generations,” Modi told his Israeli counterpart who was listening to him impassively.
Lt Colonel Yonatan Netanyahu was leading the Sayeret Matkal unit of the Israeli Defence Forces (IDF) when Opeartion Entebbe was started to rescue the hostages at Entebbe Airport in Uganada. An Air France Flight from Tel Aviv to Paris was hijacked and was detoured to Entebbe. Around 102 passengers out of 106 were rescued and all the seven hijackers were killed. However, Yonatan was the one defence personnel who was killed. Operation Entebbe was later renamed as ‘Operation Yonatan’ in remembrance of his sacrifice and bravery.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi is on a three-day visit to the Jewish nation. He is the first ever Indian Prime Minister to make a visit to Israel. Benjamin Netanyahu himself received Modi at the airport on Tuesday. The two leaders are expected to sign a number of agreements related to innovation, development and space. Prior to this, both the leaders had met each other twice on the sidelines of UN events.