Today in 1976 Jewish hostages hijacked on an Air France flight by German and Palestinian terrorists at Entebbe Airport, Uganda, were rescued by Israeli commando units.
A year ago, Major General Yishai Bar spoke at The Kesher Institute for the very first time about his experience as a member of the hostage rescue team in Operation Entebbe.
The flight was carrying 260 people, the terrorists specifically targeted Israelis and Jews as the flight had originated in Tel Aviv.
In response, the Israeli military performed an amazing rescue mission in Uganda, where the hostages were held under the eye of ruler Idi Amin.
The mission, known as Operation Entebbe/Mivtza Yonatan/Operation Thunderbolt gained recognition as one of the most unique and successful hostage rescue missions in history.
In a letter dated 5736, the Rebbe writes this about the ordeal:
“One cannot fail to note the extraordinary aspects at both ends of the hijacking. On the one hand, the ease with which the four terrorists hijacked the airbus in Athens, and on the other hand, the extraordinary success of the rescue operation.
“In other words, both the initial tragedy and eventual deliverance clearly point to the Hand of G-d.
“And while every Jew is grateful to, and admires the Mesirat Nefesh of the brave rescuers, we must not lose sight for a moment of the warning and lesson at the bottom of it all — not just in regard to the danger of hijacking in the ordinary sense, but even more importantly, in regard to the “spiritual hijacking” of so many of our young generation by alien and freak cultures which, unfortunately, capture so many of our innocent boys and girls in Eretz Yisrael as in the Diaspora.
“With all the anxiety and love which filled every Jewish heart for those unfortunate hostages at Entebbe Airport — surely no less concern should be shown to the spiritual hostages that are abducted daily, and no less Mesirat Nefesh to save them.
“It is also particularly painful to contemplate the secularized education of considerable segments of Jewish youth in the land which even the nations of the world recognize as the Holy Land, where one would have reason to expect that all Jewish children would be brought up in an atmosphere of holiness befitting the Holy Land.
“It is for this reason that our Chabad people in Eretz Yisrael and everywhere else have undertaken special rescue operations in the area of Jewish education.”