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  1. Yoni's Last Battle
  2. Yoni's Last Battle by Iddo Netanyahu | Waterstones
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In early , he left his studies and returned to the army.

Yoni's Last Battle

Yet he always conditioned his return to Harvard on the relaxation of the military tensions. In , he and Tuti were divorced. Netanyahu was living with his girlfriend of two years, Bruria, at the time of his death. After graduating high school, Netanyahu joined the Israeli Defense Forces in He was eventually given command of a paratroopers company. In he considered college, but the constant threat of war made him stay in Israel: "This is my country and my homeland. It is here that I belong," he wrote. He was decorated for valor after that war. After being wounded, he returned to the U. Harvard is a luxury I cannot afford.

By he was leading an anti-terrorist reconnaissance unit, Sayeret Matkal Israeli special forces , and in the summer of was appointed as the unit's deputy commander. The following year he participated in Operation Spring of Youth , in which the terrorists and leadership of Black September were selectively killed by Sayeret Matkal, Shayetet and the Mossad. During the Yom Kippur War in October , Netanyahu commanded a Sayeret Matkal force in the Golan Heights that killed more than 40 Syrian commandos in a battle which thwarted the Syrian commandos ' raid in the Golan's heartland.

Netanyahu then volunteered to serve as an armor commander, due to the heavy casualties inflicted on the Israeli Armored Corps during the war, with a disproportionate number of these in the officer ranks. Netanyahu excelled in Tank Officers course, and was given command of the Barak Armored Brigade , which had been shattered during the war. Netanyahu turned his brigade into the leading military unit in the Golan Heights. George Will , political commentator [10].

Netanyahu was killed in action on July 4, , while commanding the rescue mission during Operation Entebbe. The commonly accepted version of his death is that Netanyahu fired on Ugandan soldiers, and was shot in response by an African from the airport's control tower. The family refused to accept this verdict, and insisted instead that he was killed by the German commanding the hijackers. Netanyahu was buried in Jerusalem's Military Cemetery at Mount Herzl on July 6 following a military funeral attended by enormous crowds and top-ranking officials.

Yoni's Last Battle by Iddo Netanyahu | Waterstones

In many of Netanyahu's personal letters were published. Author Herman Wouk describes them as a "remarkable work of literature, possibly one of the great documents of our time. The film Follow Me , released in May , is based on Netanyahu's life story and his final mission, leading the successful rescue of Israeli hostages at Entebbe, at the cost of his life. The narration during the film uses transcripts from his personal letters and other spoken words. The run was canceled by the Netanyahu family because the theater was intending to run the play as a companion piece to My Name Is Rachel Corrie.

Author Herman Wouk wrote that Netanyahu was already a legend in Israel even before his death at the age of Wouk wrote:. He was a taciturn philosopher-soldier of terrific endurance, a hard-fibered, charismatic young leader, a magnificent fighting man. On the Golan Heights, in the Yom Kippur War, the unit he led was part of the force that held back a sea of Soviet tanks manned by Syrians, in a celebrated stand; and after Entebbe, "Yoni" became in Israel almost a symbol of the nation itself.

Today his name is spoken there with somber reverence. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said his own "hard line against all terrorists" came as a result of the death of his brother. Netanyahu's father commented in that Yoni would have been disappointed with the West's reactions against terrorism. In , the Jonathan Institute was founded by Benjamin Netanyahu in order to sponsor international conferences on terrorism. In Israel, his death was chronicled with great historic and dramatic significance. Today it endures as one of those war legends that stand as testimony to national heroism.

Indeed, his death was experienced as a national loss.

Yoni's Last Battle: The Rescue at Entebbe, 1976

A book of his letters, published posthumously by the Netanyahu family, portrays a young man who only felt fully alive as an active defender of his nation. Three decades later, the spectacular cinema of his death still sustains its hold on the Israeli imagination. Had he been possessed of less talent as a soldier, he might have pursued other avenues with more ease.

He never hesitated to act. Besides being a big brother, he was in many ways a semi-parent to [Bibi and me]. He just had this attitude; he was a brother that wanted to instruct you.

Entebbe airport hit by Israeli commandos, 1976 (Pt II)

Even as they got older, Yoni would write these remarkable letters to Bibi about how to prepare for the army, step-by-step. He was incredibly protective. Even as a teenager, Yoni stood out among his peers. He was the kind of person people admired. He was a combination of a thinker and a doer. The last photograph of Yoni Netanyahu, taken a short time before he was killed in the raid on Entebbe.

Photo courtesy of the Netanyahu Family. He demonstrated to his brothers that duty to country was paramount. During the period that they lived in Philadelphia, while their father served as visiting professor at his alma mater, Dropsie College, Yoni grew restless to return to Israel. What Yoni did not live to realize became part of the family story anyway.


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The events of that day are reconstructed by combining real sound recordings with footage shot inside the actual planes used during the operation, as well as a digital rendering of the raid. For Yoni, death was not some far-off inevitability the way it is for the rest of us; it was something close, a familiar yet unwanted acquaintance. He did not want to die, but he was one of those rare people who did not fear death. Still, mortality stalked him with sadness. Indeed, it was after he left America, returned to Israel and met Goodman that his deep, inner conflict became amplified.

The couple married in Jerusalem when Yoni was 21, and immediately moved to Boston so he could attend Harvard. But they had barely made it a year before skirmishes between Israel and Egypt forced him home. He envisioned the film as a love story. When Goodman miscarried, days passed before he arrived at the hospital.

And later, after the bloody conflict of the Yom Kippur War had inflicted deep psychic wounds, he gave Shaked-Okon the impression that he could never again restore himself to love. She refused to accept. I worked on it. And in the end, it happened. If he sacrificed his life for Israel, his consolation is an enduring iconic status. And at times, it does seem to verge into tearjerker territory, though it must be said, it stops short of canonization.

After all, he was the first to admit to his failed relationships and private flaws.

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He was intensely self-aware and honest, and, for an otherwise macho military man, remarkably forthcoming with his vulnerabilities. Yoni portrays that like no other Israeli could.

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Yoni Netanyahu filtered his painful, physical purpose through the prism of prose, turning tragedy and suffering into poetry. David Suissa , Sept. Tabby Refael , Sept. Like many children in the U. Debra L. Eckerling , Sept. Harvey Farr , Sept. At the risk of being religiously incorrect, perhaps it is time someone said out loud what most observant Jews think to ourselves: Jewish holidays can Mark Schiff , Sept. Potential: A latent excellence or ability that may or may not be developed.