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Operation Entebbe: The Greatest Hostage Rescue in History

While Americans were celebrating the bicentennial on July 4, 1976, about 140 Israeli commandos were undertaking one of the most daring missions in the history of the Israel Defense Forces:  Operation Thunderbolt, a counter-terrorist hostage-rescue assignment at Entebbe Airport in Uganda.

A week earlier, an Air France plane on its way from Tel Aviv had been hijacked by two members of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine and two members of the German Revolutionary CZ Cell.  The plane was flown to Libya and then to Uganda, where the hijackers and additional terrorists held the Israeli and Jewish passengers hostage at the airport along with the 12-member flight crew.

The Israeli government, after unsuccessful negotiations, decided to send 140 commandos on a 2,500-mile journey to carry out a nighttime rescue operation that freed 106 hostages in 90 minutes.  Four hostages were killed as well as all the terrorists.  Four Israeli commandos were wounded and one, Lt. Col. Yonatan Netanyahu, was killed.

Sasson “Sassy” Reuven was there and will relate his firsthand account of that legendary operation at an event hosted by Chabad of Orange/Woodbridge.  His presentation is sponsored in part by the Battat Family/Traveland and Dr. John Levy.

Mr. Reuven, who served in the IDF’s elite “Red Beret” unit of the Paratroop Brigade, was among the first to jump out of the first Hercules C-130 aircraft that landed in Entebbe.  What happened next, the heart of his adventure, is a story he reserves for live audiences.  Sassy will share this personal experience from the moment he was called to duty to landing in Uganda and completing the mission behind enemy lines.  His story is one of courage and endurance.

This fascinating presentation will be held on Wednesday, May 3, 2017, 7:30 pm at Chabad of Orange, 261 Derby Avenue, Orange, CT.  Desserts will be served.  Tickets are $18 in advance and $20 at the door and can be purchased at, then click on events tab.  For more information, email

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