One of the most daring rescue missions of the post WWII era was the Raid on Entebbe in 1976. Terrorist groups called the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine and the German Revolutionary Cells hijacked an Air France plane with 248 passengers aboard. The flight was redirected to Uganda. The non-Jewish passengers were released and the crew was released but insisted on staying. They the Jewish passengers were held hostage while the hijackers demanded the release of 53 convicted terrorists from Israeli prisons. The Israelis were given 48 hours to respond. The commando mission was led by 30-year-old Lt. Col. Yonatan (Yoni) Netanyahu, older brother of the man who would become Israeli’s Prime Minister. All but two hostages were rescued and all eight terrorists killed in an expertly conducted mission that took just 58 minutes. All of the Israeli soldiers survived except for Yoni whose heroism and dedication were celebrated throughout the world. This thoughtful and stirring documentary tells his story.
The film draws on Yoni’s own words, which described the conflicts he felt about being a soldier and his passionate devotion to Israel, and on interviews with his family, his wife of four years, and the woman he was living with at the time of his death, and archival footage that shows us his gallantry and spirit.
This is a touching and inspiring story, powerfully told. Those who die young, especially those who sacrifice themselves to save others, are often reduced in memory to a name on a memorial or elevated to superhuman proportions to protect us from thinking about how we might measure up. This movie is filled with warm memories and specific details about a real person and what makes it so compelling is the reminder that by the time it ends we feel not just the admiration for his heroism but the sharp pain of his loss.