I was saved by Netanyahu’s brother who died rescuing me – Israel must learn from his sacrifice to free Hamas hostages

I was saved by Netanyahu’s brother who died rescuing me – Israel must learn from his sacrifice to free Hamas hostages

A DAD who was saved by Benjamin Netanyahu’s brother in 1976 has urged Israel to show the same bravery today to rescue the hostages held by Hamas.

Israeli commander Yonatan Netanyahu was killed while leading Operation Entebbe in Uganda to free 257 people taken hostage on a hijacked plane – including 13-year-old Benny Davidson.

SuppliedBenny Davidson (middle left) was 13 years old when his flight was hijacked by Palestinian terrorists[/caption]

Getty – ContributorYoni Netanyahu, pictured shortly before his death at Entebbe in 1976[/caption]

Getty – ContributorA crowd lifts the squadron leader of the rescue planes on their return to Israel[/caption]

As Hamas’ brutal war with Israel drags into its fourth month, Entebbe survivor Benny, now 60, said Israeli PM Netanyahu and his forces need to make the same sacrifices as his brother.

The dad-of-four said Israel must take whatever steps necessary to guarantee the release of the remaining 136 hostages in the Gaza Strip.

Yonatan – known as Yoni – led Israel’s commando special forces unit during the Entebbe raid launched in response to the 1976 hijacking of an Air France flight from Tel Aviv to Paris.

Two Palestinian terrorists and two German terrorists took control of the plane during a stopover in Athens.

They diverted the flight to Libya and then to Uganda, where the hijackers were joined by other terrorists at Entebbe International Airport.

It is said the terrorists wanted to use the hostages to push for the release of 40 Palestinian and affiliated militants imprisoned in Israel, as well as 13 prisoners in four other countries.

More than 100 Ugandan soldiers joined the terrorists when the flight landed and assisted in moving the hostages to an empty airport.

In a chilling echo of scenes seen in recent months with Hamas, the terrorists threatened to kill captives if specified prisoners were not released.

Israel’s military launched a rescue operation and ultimately all but four of the 248 hostages were released within the span of a week.

Tragically, Yoni was killed in action.

Survivor Benny was just 13 years old when the flight was hijacked by terrorists. Decades later, he is still processing the trauma.

He was convinced he was “getting slaughtered” as gunfire erupted and Israeli military personnel rushed to save him, his older brother Ron, his mum Sara and dad Uzi, and the other hostages.

The entrepreneur told The Sun: “I found myself lying on the ground with my mother covering me with her body. Hell broke loose, and there were shots of guns and some machine guns.”

Led by Yoni, the soldiers “eliminated” the terrorists before coming to their rescue.

Benny said they looked down at him, smiled and said: “Hey, we came to take you home.”

He described what he endured before the IDF’s arrival as “horrific” – but he added: “Let’s remember we’re not in the tunnels of Hamas.”

Benny said it is crucial that PM Netanyahu prioritise the return of hostages being held by Hamas – even it means putting the lives of others at risk.

It has been more than 100 days since Hamas stormed the Israeli border, killed 1,200 people, and dragged 240 hostages to Gaza.

The government… is not doing the utmost, ultimate, sacred task, and it’s to save the 136 hostages

Benny DavidsonEntebbe survivor

A temporary ceasefire between Israel and Hamas-led Palestinian militant groups in the besieged enclave saw the release of 105 civilian hostages between November 24 and 30.

Hamas still holds 108 hostages alive, according to Israeli information.

Earlier this week, Israel confirmed it had begun flooding Hamas’ matrix of tunnels beneath the Gaza Strip – dubbed the “Gaza Metro” – with sea water, to flush out terrorists.

There were concerns for the remaining hostages as they are likely being held in the tunnels.

But the IDF later said the method was being utilised only “in locations where it is suitable”.

Benny said that Hamas “needs to be eradicated” because anyone who “performs horrific crimes against humanity” does not deserve to live.

“We thought initially that our brave army could eliminate Hamas within a couple of months or so,” he said.

“But we’re three and a half months into this battle. We are reducing forces in Gaza. We are losing support from the Western world.

“The government… is not doing the utmost, ultimate, sacred task, and it’s to save the 136 hostages.

“So we are in a deep crisis, not just on the military level, but we’re in a deep crisis internally.”

Who are Hamas?

HAMAS is an Islamist militant group founded in 1987 during the first Palestinian Intifada or uprising against Israel.

The terror organisation is a Palestinian militant movement that also serves as one of the territories’ two major political parties.

Over the years, Hamas has carried out shootings, bombings, and rocket attacks in Israel; the two regions’ armies have fought in Gaza in multiple cross-border wars since the group seized control of Gaza in 2007.

But Hamas drew worldwide attention when it unleashed its terror on Israel and brutally murdered 1,200 people on October 7, 2023.

The group launched surprise land, air, and sea attacks on civilians, leaving thousands injured and taking 240 people hostage.

Brutal warfare has since raged and thousands have died on both sides of the fighting.

Hamas, or in some cases its military wing, has been designated a terrorist group by Israel, the US, the EU, and the UK, as well as other powers.

He believes, as a former hostage of Palestinian terrorists, that Israel should revisit negotiations with Hamas to have those who are still captive in Gaza returned.

He added: “As many of them alive as possible.”

Benny reflected on the huge rescue mission that saw him released nearly 50 years ago – and said Netanyahu’s brother and his soldiers “followed a simple theme”.

“Netanyahu’s brother took his command of forces along with 220 fighters to an operation,” he said.

“That was really a crazy operation, but they followed a simple theme, or subject, which is caring for any Jews or Israelis that are caught captive anywhere in the world, even with sacrificing their lives.

“And he only fell on those principles of Judaism. Zionism, integrity, and moral, of caring for his fellow Israeli people.”

Hamas this week issued a chilling warning to the hostage’s families, vowing to kill those still held captive if Israel continues bombing Gaza.

The terror group declared there was “no chance” it would release the hostages after Netanyahu rejected another potential ceasefire deal.

Conditions of the proposal by Hamas included Israel’s complete withdrawal from the Strip, which would leave the terrorists in charge.

Netanyahu said: “In exchange for the release of our hostages, Hamas demands the end of the war, the withdrawal of our forces from Gaza, the release of all the murderers and rapists.

“And leaving Hamas intact. I reject outright the terms of surrender of the monsters of Hamas.”

Benny Davidson, his brother Ron, and his parents Sara and Uzi arrive home in IsraelSupplied

William KAREL/GAMMA-RAPHOEntebbe hostages return to Tel Aviv[/caption]

Hulton Archive – GettyAn Israeli hostage is greeted on her return to Israel after Operation Entebbe[/caption]

Walter OleksyYoni Netanyahu as a young soldier[/caption]

2007 Getty ImagesA map of Entebbe Airport is shown at a press conference in Israel following Operation Entebbe[/caption]

RexBenny Davidson and his mother Sara in 2016, some 40 years after they were rescued[/caption]

Benjamin Netanyahu/TwitterIsraeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu and his brother Yoni[/caption]

APNetanyahu has been urged to prioritise the return of Israelis held captive by Hamas[/caption]

AFPProtesters hold up portraits during a rally by family and supporters of Israeli hostages held in Gaza since October 7[/caption]

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