January 29th, 2018

Coming attractions: Entebbe movie

I was in a movie theater this weekend and saw a coming attraction for “7 Days In Entebbe.” I don’t know what stance the film takes on Palestine vs. Israel; it’s British, so it could be somewhat anti-Israeli and sympathetic to the terrorists.

But the trailer looked good, and it’s an inherently exciting story. It’s been told before, but long ago, and mostly in “made for TV” movies. Here’s the trailer:

Did you see that part where the planes are flying over the water very low (around 1:37)? That’s based on reality; they flew from Israel at a height of about 100 feet in order to evade radar. Maybe those of you who are pilots don’t find that so impressive (I wouldn’t know), but I certainly do.

The entire episode of history was impressive. I’m hoping they stick to reality and don’t start editorializing.

Here are some other fascinating Entebbe facts (as well as some heroic and/or tragic ones), many of which I had not remembered or never knew of in the first place:

It happened on our July 4 bicentennial.

Two of the four hijackers on the plane were Germans.

The four hijackers boarded the plane in Athens, Greece, but were met by four more in Entebbe.

Also these:

US citizen Janet Almog, Frenchwoman Jocelyne Monier (whose husband or boyfriend was Israeli) and French-Israeli dual citizen Jean-Jacques Mimouni, whose name had not been called up during the reading of the original passport-based list, reportedly joined the Israeli hostage group by their own choice.

Kenyan Minister of Agriculture Bruce MacKenzie persuaded Kenyan President Kenyatta to permit Mossad to collect intelligence prior to the operation, and to allow the Israeli Air Force access to the Nairobi airport. In retaliation, Ugandan President Idi Amin ordered Ugandan agents to assassinate MacKenzie. He was killed on 24 May 1978 when a bomb attached to his aircraft exploded. Later, Mossad Chief Director Meir Amit had a forest planted in Israel in MacKenzie’s name.

Israeli firms were involved in building projects in Africa during the 1960s and 1970s and while preparing the raid the Israeli army consulted with Solel Boneh, a large Israeli construction company that had built the terminal where the hostages were held. While planning the military operation the IDF erected a partial replica of the airport terminal with the assistance of civilians who had helped build the original.

And if you ever had any doubt about Idi Amin’s brutality, there’s this:

Dora Bloch, a 74-year-old Israeli who also held British citizenship, was taken to Mulago Hospital in Kampala after choking on a chicken bone. After the raid she was murdered by officers of the Ugandan army, as were some of her doctors and nurses, apparently for trying to intervene. In April 1987, Henry Kyemba, Uganda’s Attorney general and Minister of Justice at the time, told the Uganda Human Rights Commission that Bloch had been dragged from her hospital bed and killed by two army officers on Amin’s orders. Bloch was shot and her body was dumped in the trunk of a car that had Ugandan intelligence services number plates. Her remains were recovered near a sugar plantation 20 miles (32 km) east of Kampala in 1979, after the Ugandan–Tanzanian War ended Amin’s rule. Amin also ordered the killing of hundreds of Kenyans living in Uganda in retaliation for Kenya’s assistance to Israel in the raid.

[NOTE: The only Israeli killed in the Entebbe raid was Jonatan Netanyahu, Benjamin Netanyahu’s older brother. I wrote about the anti-terrorist activities of the two brothers here.]

33 Responses to “Coming attractions: Entebbe movie”

  1. Avi Says:

    IIRC one or two hostages were killed by friendly fire.

  2. Avi Says:

    No matter how bad the film could be, it would almost certainly be better than the ABC made for TV dreck “Victory at Entebbe” with Helen Hayes, Linda Blair ( yes Linda Blair) Liz Taylor et al, and the most inspired casting ever – Richard Dreyfus as Yoni.
    Wouldn’t everyone see Richard Dreyfus as Yoni?

  3. Steve57 Says:

    If it means anything to you, yesterday I watched Swan Lake and today I watched Don Quixote. Specifically the grand pas de deux. Not something I would normally do until I encountered you on line. And I liked it . I really have to get back to blowing s*** up or I’m going to lose my man card.

  4. neo-neocon Says:

    Steve57:

    I’m gratified.

  5. Maetenloch Says:

    Entebbe was an amazing operation that still seems like the plot of an over the top 80s action movie. Just to find a Mercedes sedan that duplicated Amin’s car required huge amounts of intelligence work in itself. And the entire operation was put together and executed in less than a week.

  6. Brian Swisher Says:

    Flying low over water is indeed a tricky business if you’re not an instrument-rated pilot, as water waves have the fractal quality of dimensionlessness – you can’t tell how high you are just by looking at them, you need some other point of reference. This is how JFK, Jr. got himself and his passengers killed, by flying over Long Island Sound in dodgy conditions.

    An even more impressive feat of low level flying took place during the Falklands War. Argentine Air Force pilots flew low over the stormy South Atlantic to strike HMS Sheffield undetected. They flew low enough that they had problems with salt spray clouding their canopies.

  7. Irv Says:

    To US military pilots, doing the difficult is routine but it almost always takes extra effort to do the impossible. Also, a huge amount of hard-earned personal confidence is a prerequisite for the job. If you don’t think that you are ‘overall’ the best pilot then you should quit and allow the best one to take your place. Perfection is not a single act, it’s a practice.

    The above is what I was taught in AF Pilot Training in 1967 and, as an instructor pilot for many years, it’s what I always tried to teach to all my students.

  8. Richard Aubrey Says:

    They needed to know when they crossed from water to land and from land to pavement (runway). Some guy breadboarded a cheap radar and hung it in front of the A/C. So everybody’s depending on some guy who’s not only an electrical engineer, but really, really good with Erector Sets.

    Oh, yeah. Leave it to the perfidious Jews to UPSTAGE OUR BICENTENNIAL!!!!!

    A couple of weeks later, in a doctor’s office, I picked up a copy of the even-then execrable Newsweek and discovered letters to the editor condemning Israel for violating the sovereignty of another country.

  9. John F. MacMichael Says:

    Brian Swisher, above at 4:17 PM: “An even more impressive feat of low level flying took place during the Falklands War. Argentine Air Force pilots flew low over the stormy South Atlantic to strike HMS Sheffield undetected.”

    The Argentine Air Force pilots certainly displayed high levels of flying skill and courage in the Falklands War. One British combatant later remarked they should have expected that a country that produced many top ranked race car drivers would also have good fighter pilots.

    However, the Argentine attacks at wave top level (intended to evade British radar and missiles) were much less lethal than they should have been because their bomb fuses were not set to go off when dropped from such low levels. Multiple Argentine bombs hit British ships and did not explode because of this. If they had, Argentina might have won the war.

    A good book on this aspect of the war is “Air War South Atlantic” Ethel & Price, 1983.

  10. DNW Says:

    Must be a good movie. One of my favorite rock songs back when I was a “kid”.

    It was one of many rockin’ rock songs which represented a kind of nice rock FU – if only partial, as we at least, took it to be – to the sunken chest Maoist asswipes who imagined they owned both the genre and the future of the earth.

    Good work Israelis.

  11. charles Says:

    It does look like it will be good – at least I hope so. It is such a fantastic piece of history that one would be hard pressed to create better fiction. There were many heroes that day. I hope the movie does them right.

    I also had always wondered about Dora Bloch. As I recall (Yes, I am old enough to have heard about this piece of history in the news when it was “news” and not “history”) she was travelling with her son (or was it grandson?) and he was left behind at the airport. He was eventually rescued – the feelings that he must have had at being rescued and not knowing where she was!?

    Even though it is sad to hear of the medical staff that were killed, perhaps trying to save her, it is also good to know that she didn’t “die alone.” That is there were others with her trying to help her against the evil that was in Uganda at that time.

  12. AesopFan Says:

    Steve57 Says:
    January 29th, 2018 at 2:56 pm
    .. . I really have to get back to blowing s*** up or I’m going to lose my man card.
    * *
    Next up: the Entebbe ballet?
    (don’t laugh; I can see it — kind of a West Side Story feeling to it, more modern than classical dance).

    Neo’s link to her earlier story (which I remember) shows why Trump’s alleged “s-house” remark forced the MSM to go out and buy pearls to clutch: they don’t keep them in stock during Dem administrations.

    I read the story of Entebbe quite some years ago, as that was the focal point of a biography of Yoni, which, in retrospect, was probably more than a little hagiographic, but I suppose there was good reason to be: the planning for the raid was meticulous, and gave me my first really good clue what it looked like when someone was playing with the whole deck of man cards.
    He was an altogether amazing person, and it is sad he didn’t make it out alive.
    Some people claim that his brother Binyamin is highly motivated by a desire to “win one for Yoni” which is alright by me.

    Here’s a story on the anniversary memorial in 2016, kind of two-handed but it is the Guardian. The second link is their story at the time of the raid, and is somewhat more enlightening.

    https://www.theguardian.com/world/2016/jul/04/binyamin-netanyahu-israel-entebbe-airport-uganda

    https://www.theguardian.com/theguardian/1976/jul/04/1

    “Among scenes of rejoicing unparalleled in Israel since the Six Day War of 1967, the Prime Minister, Mr Rabin, served notice that his Government would feel free to repeat such operations if the need arose.

    “We shall continue to do whatever we can to fight terrorism and there will be no law that will prohibit out activity against this kind of terrorism,” he said.

    “We see Governments that give refuge and assistance to this terrorism as responsible for its existence. We shall hold them responsible for whatever might happen to Israeli citizens and Israeli residents.”

    Mr Rabin described the operation, carried out 2,500 miles from Israel, as the longest-range strike in the history of the Israeli defence forces.

    Mr Rabin claimed that Israel’s decision, announced on Thursday, to accede to the hijackers’ demands to free up to 39 security prisoners was not a matter of playing for time. At that point there was no alternative. He added, however, that “throughout the time since the capture of the plane, we sought ways and means to foil the terrorists’ scheme by our own devices.

    “The army and the intelligence community lost not a single hour required for thinking, planning, and preparation. When the right moment arrived, the plan was submitted to the Cabinet, which approved the operation unanimously.”

    The Prime Minister insisted that the decision was Israel’s alone. “We did not consult any other Government in advance,” he said, “nor shall we lay responsibility on any other country or Government.” Mr Peres said that no other Government was asked to help the Israeli forces.

    Few operational details of the assault have been released here. The Israelis prefer to keep the enemy guessing.

    The Wiki article Neo linked points out a couple of things to keep in mind: the UN lost no time in chastising Israel (not the terrorists), and it was probably the last time any Europeans supported Israel’s actions.

    In addition to the hundreds of Kenyans in Uganda killed on Amin’s orders, because it was obviously all their fault, there were additional raids in Nairobi afterwards in revenge.
    The message that “It’s dangerous to help Israel” was no doubt taken to heart by the rest of the world.

  13. AesopFan Says:

    charles Says:
    January 29th, 2018 at 9:04 pm

    Even though it is sad to hear of the medical staff that were killed, perhaps trying to save her, it is also good to know that she didn’t “die alone.” That is there were others with her trying to help her against the evil that was in Uganda at that time.
    * * *
    There were apparently several heroes back then in addition to the Israeli forces. The Righteous Among Nations exist alongside the Jews in all times and places, it would seem.

  14. AesopFan Says:

    Back at the earlier of Neo’s posts (2014), Ann linked a great photo of Obama and Bibi at PowerLine.

    http://www.powerlineblog.com/archives/2014/10/whos-a-chickenshit.php

    Also, this from Geoffrey seems rather prescient:

    Geoffrey Britain Says:
    October 29th, 2014 at 11:38 am

    It’s not fear of war that restrains Netanyahu, it’s Obama’s repeated threats to end all American support for Israel, especially in the UN. Obama is looking for any excuse to do so and is IMO as much Israel’s enemy, as is Hamas.

    As for the outright and evil lie that it is Netanyahu that refuses to “reach an accommodation with the Palestinians or with the Sunni Arab states”, that is political pressure to get Israel to commit suicide, part of the left’s ‘final solution’ for its ‘reactionary’ enemies.
    * * *
    Hooray for Nikki Haley and President Trump for rolling back Obama’s work at the UN and in the Iran Affair.
    And BTW, for Americans who support Israel, this incident might have been one of the straws that broke the camel’s back in the 2016 election.

  15. AesopFan Says:

    Daniel in Brookline Says:
    October 30th, 2014 at 10:54 am

    “Isn’t it amazing that, when one writes about the Israeli war hero Netanyahu, it’s necessary to give his first name too?”

  16. DaveindeSwamp Says:

    I has read somewhere that Richard Dreyfuss both regrets and is embarrassed by his portrayal of Yoni.

    What a putz.

    The raid itself was masterful.

  17. J.J. Says:

    Low level flying was a routine mission for the squadron I was in back in the day. We flew at 50 feet at night over water. We had radar altimeters to give us accurate altitude indication. No autopilot altitude hold available so it required constant attention to the instruments. We flew a single engine aircraft (A-1) and most missions were mostly over water.

    Flying those big transports would require a lot of attention to detail also, although I assume they had autopilots with altitude hold capabilities. The major challenge was after they left the water and flew over Kenya to Uganda. Inland Kenya is on average about five thousand feet in elevation with rift cliffs and the Mount Kenya massif to detour around. They needed to plan carefully and stay on the route. Very challenging flying, no doubt about it.

    That the Israeli Cabinet approved the raid unanimously is a testament to the guts of those in political power in Israel. I just can’t get over the vision of Bill Clinton claiming that Obama took huge risks when he grudgingly approved the bin Laden raid. What pussies the Democrats are.

  18. parker Says:

    I plan tosee Entebbe and 12 Strong. Nothing peaks my imagination than the actions of brave men and women. If you haven’t yet, see Darkest Hour.

  19. Steve57 Says:

    Low level flying was a routine mission for the squadron I was in back in the day. We flew at 50 feet at night over water. We had radar altimeters to give us accurate altitude indication. No autopilot altitude hold available so it required constant attention to the instruments. We flew a single engine aircraft (A-1) and most missions were mostly over water.

    Flying those big transports would require a lot of attention…

    ‘At what point did loving somebody become part of your ojbective?

  20. J. L. Says:

    The Entebbe raid has always fascinated me. Fantastic action by the Israelis. Fully justified and one of the first defeats of terrorism at a time when most of the West seemed weak in the face of threats from the Communists and third world dictators.

    Here’s a brief documentary (9 mins.) describing the raid:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Z1ct-meb6U0

    And heres the full 1977 movie, “Raid on Entebbe” featuring Charles Bronson:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2Kh4S_6z0ss

  21. Steve57 Says:

    …After the raid she was murdered by officers of the Ugandan army, as were some of her doctors and nurses, apparently for trying to intervene. In April 1987, Henry Kyemba, Uganda’s Attorney general and Minister of Justice at the time, told the Uganda Human Rights Commission that Bloch had been dragged from her hospital bed and killed by two army officers on Amin’s orders…

    It might strike some as virtue signalling to say this, but my own father, the sainted senior chief, and my DI would line up to shoot me if I even thought about committing this crime.

  22. Steve57 Says:

    You’d have to get behind50 or 100 or 1000 black chicks before you’d find one down with this.

    I don’t know. I haven’t dated them all.

  23. Ymar Sakar Says:

    I don’t know what stance the film takes on Palestine vs. Israel; it’s British, so it could be somewhat anti-Israeli and sympathetic to the terrorists.

    Watching movies for political insights and data is like asking the Deep State and Leftist alliance to implant a better trojan backdoor plus virus plus mind control system.

  24. Steve57 Says:

    Working on it.

  25. Bob From Virginia Says:

    W.G.T. Idi Amin’s brutality, many forget that he murdered scores of Kenyan truck drivers and the Kenyan Minister of Transportation in retaliation for Entebbe.

    Personal note: I once had some work for an engineering firm in Tel-Aviv. On the wall in the front office was a scale model of an airport. It turned out to be the airport at Entebbe. It was that firm who built the airport and was able to provide the layout to the IDF.

    and

    I once attended a lecture by an Entebbe hostage who was accidentally released with the non-Israelis and may have participated in the rescue. He stated Israelis casualties were higher than stated.

  26. Bilwick Says:

    It’s funny (to me) but I hadn’t thought about Entebbe until a couple of days ago when I saw a clip on YouTube from Larry David’s “Curb Your Enthusiasm.” Larry and his friend Jeff have discovered a Palestinian restaurant where they really like the food, and invite a friend of theirs (also Jewish) to join them there. The friend shows up wearing a yarmulke to show the Palestinians that he’s “a proud Jew.” Larry and Jeff try to persuade him to take the yarmulke off before entering the restaurant. Larry tells the friend, “What is this–the raid on Entebbe?”

    That made me laugh but I wondered how many young people would remember Entebbe or get the reference.

    Way back when I read a book on the Mossad and according to the author, before the Israeli commandoes even got to Africa, the Mossad had people right at the airport. When “go time” happened, the Mossad agents just stepped out of whatever shadows they were lurking in, and killed the terrorists before the commandoes could even get to them. Pretty impressive, if true.

    Re the earlier movie about Entebbe, as I recall two networks had dueling made-for-tv Entebbe movies. The one I saw had Charles Bronson as the leader of the assault force. If I’d been held hostage by terrorists, I’d have wanted Charles Bronson to come to my rescue, too.

  27. Richard Aubrey Says:

    Bilwick. Yeah, Entebbe was so hot they needed two movies to contain all the stars who wanted to be in it.

  28. Steve57 Says:

    So blanking right.

  29. Steve57 Says:

    I may click to edit. I choose not to.

  30. Steve57 Says:

    The Combat Wombat.

  31. Steve57 Says:

    http://www.bikeexif.com/hodaka-combat-wombat

  32. Daniel in Brookline Says:

    I’ll admit, I’m biased on the subject of Entebbe. I’ve seen the movies, and to me, the only one worth watching is the one made by the Israelis themselves — variously called “Operation Thunderbolt” (the original name of the Entebbe op) or “Operation Jonathan”:

    http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0076398/?ref_=nv_sr_3

    It’s hard to find, but you can watch the whole thing on Youtube here:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OFeDt0eVcTE&t=12s

    That movie does its best to get everything right, including the languages (Hebrew, English, French, Greek, German, and others); use of actual footage of the Israeli politicians; and much more. (Example: in order for the scenes in an Israeli paratroopers’ base to look authentic, they simply used a real one.)

    About ten years later, in 1986, I was a young IDF soldier, and got to hear a brief talk by one of the pilots who went to Entebbe. He confirmed that they flew the Hercules transports low enough to get the planes’ undersides wet… and that, to his amusement, the tough paratroopers and Golani elite forces, riding in the planes, were “puking their guts out” (paraphrased).

    I’ll be pleasantly surprised if the new movie is worth watching.

  33. Barry Meislin Says:

    Update (Gosh, who could have guessed!?):

    “In new film, Jewish director challenges Israeli version of 1976 Entebbe rescue”
    https://www.timesofisrael.com/in-new-film-jewish-director-challenges-israeli-version-of-1976-entebbe-rescue/

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