PM Benjamin Netanyahu steps from a C-130 Hercules aircraft that was used in the 1976 raid on Entebbe airport in Uganda. (AP/Uriel Sinai, Pool/File) (AP/Uriel Sinai, Pool/File)
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Israel’s spirit of freedom, displayed at Entebbe on July 4, 1976, continues to be a source of inspiration for millions of people worldwide.

By Daniel Krygier, United with Israel

Exactly 42 years ago on America’s Independence Day, Israel stunned the free world by showing that freedom can be successfully defended against the forces of terrorism and totalitarianism.

On July 4, 1976, an Israeli commando squad rescued over 100 Israeli and Jewish civilians held hostage by Arab and German terrorists at Entebbe airport in Uganda.

Like today’s terrorist regimes led by Iran, the terrorists at Entebbe made threats and demanded submission from the free world. Like today, much of the West in the 1970s was willingly surrendering to terrorist blackmail.

An Alternative to Appeasement

Being surrounded by neighbors seeking its destruction, Israel cannot afford the passivity displayed by most of the Western world. The successful Israeli Entebbe operation reminded the free world that there is an alternative to appeasement.

In an unprecedented operation lasting less than one hour, Israel neutralized the terrorist threat and liberated the Jewish hostages in Uganda, located over 2,000 miles away from the Jewish state.

Over a century ago, Uganda was ironically suggested as a temporarily shelter for the then-homeless Jewish people. The Zionist movement overwhelmingly rejected the proposition. As the Jewish national freedom movement, Zionism refers to Zion or Jerusalem. It was clear early on that there was no substitute to the ancestral Jewish homeland in the Land of Israel.

Freedom is precious and comes with a price. Yonatan Netanyahu, the leader of the Israeli rescue operation and brother of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, was tragically killed at Entebbe. However, Israel’s spirit of freedom displayed at Entebbe continues to be a source of inspiration for millions of people worldwide.

While the world today is very different from 1976, much remains the same. Totalitarian bullies continue to be bullies, and Western appeasers continue to appease the forces of totalitarianism led by the Islamist regime in Tehran.

Attack is the Best Self-Defense

By contrast, Israel continues to successfully confront Iran and its terrorist allies, Hezbollah and Hamas.

Israel in 2018 is far more powerful and prosperous than the embattled and isolated Jewish state of 1976. From exposing Iran’s secret nuclear files to neutralizing much of Iran’s military capabilities in Syria, Israel clearly demonstrates that attack continues to be the best form of self-defense.

In a post-Obama era, Israel remains America’s closest ally in the Middle East.

In addition, Jerusalem is successfully building tacit alliances with Sunni Arab states opposing Iran’s aggressive expansionist policies in the Middle East. Gone are the days when PLO, through terrorism, managed to be at the center of the world’s attention.

Egypt, Jordan and Saudi Arabia are increasingly blaming Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas for rejecting peace with Israel. While officially still not recognizing Israel, pragmatic Riyadh understands that Israel plays a key role in the emerging alliance against Iran’s imperial ambitions.

In 1976, Moscow was an ideological enemy of Israel. Today, Russia and Israel maintain strong relations and cooperation. The personal chemistry between President Vladimir Putin and Netanyahu is only part of the story.

Russia increasingly understands that the Iranian regime’s aggression against Israel undermines vital Russian interests in Syria. Unlike much of the politically correct West, Russia refuses to appease terrorism and respects those willing to fight for their independence. Putin has expressed his admiration for the Jewish state and its highly capable military and intelligence.

Spirit of Entebbe Continues to Guide Israel

Renamed “Operation Yoni” in honor of the fallen Israeli commander, the spirit of Entebbe continues to guide Israel in its quest for national freedom, security and genuine peace. In an era of political correctness and Western self-doubt, Israel’s old-fashioned belief in justice and fighting spirit remains more refreshing and relevant than ever.

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