Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu visited the gravesite of his brother, Yoni, on Mt. Herzl in Jerusalem on Saturday night, kicking off a somber week that will culminate on Wednesday with national remembrance for Israel's fallen soldiers.
Yoni Netanyahu was the only Israeli soldier killed during the 1976 raid launched by special forces who successfully extricated over 100 Israeli and Jewish passengers of an Air France jet that was taken hostage by Palestinian and German terrorists.
The events of Entebbe are believed to have had a profound impact on Netanyahu, who went on to write numerous books about terrorism before embarking on a successful diplomatic and political career that eventually brought him to Israel’s premiership.
At the time of the operation, Netanyahu said during a memorial two years ago, he was studying in the US, and the moment he heard IDF soldiers had landed in Entebbe, he knew his brother had to be there, and called his parents.
“This day changed my life and the lives of my parents and my brother [Ido]. My parents have died since then, but I will never forget their grief over the fall of their firstborn son,” the prime minister said.
Netanyahu also recounted attending a ceremony in Uganda honoring his brother and the others who fell in the Entebbe operation, saying he does not take it for granted that a foreign country would honor IDF soldiers.