By Joe Nam, Media Specialist Christians for Israel Uganda.. It’s June 2016. I am entering a coffee café in Uganda’s capital city Kampala. I frequent this place during the evening social hour to catch up on news of the latest happenings in the city. Here, in between sips of coffee and tea, patrons get to discuss the hottest topics of the day. I am just in time to catch animated conversation going on about the Entebbe Rescue. So I sit to listen.
In Uganda, this epic event is referred to as the Entebbe Raid or Operation Thunderbolt. This was when, on the night of 4 July 1976, Israel landed over 200 commandos and soldiers at Entebbe Airport in Uganda, East Africa, to rescue 105 hostages held by terrorists of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP).
The story is widely known. Air France flight 139 leaves Tel Aviv Airport on 27 June 1976 en-route to Paris. The plane lands in Athens to pick up more passengers. This is when terrorists enter the plane using forged passports. Half an hour into the flight, the terrorists jump up with weapons and hold up the passengers and crew. The pilot is ordered to divert the plane and fly south. After refuelling in Bengazi, Libya, the plane is commandeered further south, landing in Entebbe on 28 June.
Reminiscent of the Holocaust days, Jewish passengers are separated from non-Jewish passengers. Non-Jews are released while Jewish passengers and crew of Air France remain as hostages. The State of Israel is in a dilemma - should they meet the terrorist demands?