WATCH: Exclusive Interview With Former IDF General Matan Vilnai, Instrumental Leader In Entebbe Rescue

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FILE - A police officer clears the way for rescued Air France hostages arriving in Tel Aviv after returning from Entebbe (Photo Credit: MOSHE MILNER / GPO)

JERUSALEM (VINnews) — Most people can’t remember what they did last week, let alone 45 years ago.

It was July 4, 1976, while most Americans were celebrating Independence Day with fireworks and BBQ’s, the IDF was returning from Entebbe Airport with 102 rescued hostages.

For a brief review; On June 27, Palestinian terrorists hijacked a plane that had left Israel, bound for Paris, with a stopover in Athens where the hijackers boarded.

After refueling in Libya, the plane flew to Uganda in Africa.

Soon after landing in Uganda, the hijackers released the non-Israeli passengers, but held the Israeli’s for the ransom to release 53 Arab terrorists being held in Israel and European prisons. While Israel was considering its options, the terrorists extended their deadline to July 4. This extra time allowed for the IDF to devise a rescue operation titled, Operation Thunderbolt, later renamed Operation Yonathan, after its leader Yoni Netanyahu.

The miracles included that the release of the non-Israeli hostages which allowed the Mossad to interview them to get a precise detail of the hostage takers and airport. The fact that an Israeli architect still had the Entebbe airport blueprints gave the IDF much needed information. That the IDF had to fly 8000 miles in specialized Hercules planes, one of which was 40,000 pounds overweight and almost couldn’t take off due to extreme dry weather. These were just some of the miracles.

Today, Alan and Baila from the VINnews podcast ‘The Definitive Rap’ sat down with former IDF General Matan Vilnai. Vilnai was Commander of the Paratroopers Brigade and led the first force that landed at the Entebbe airport and the second in command of the entire operation.

General Vilnai also served as a member of the Labor Party, as Minister of Science, Culture and sports, Deputy Defense Minister and Minister of Defense of the Home Front.

Currently, he has become the president of the first China University in Israel for Business and Economics.

Alan Skorski has been a political activist for almost 40 years. He authored 2 books; Pants on Fire: How Al Franken Lies, Smears, and Deceives and Israel Betrayed: How the Democrats, J Street, and Jewish Left Have Undermined Israel. He has appeared on Fox News, MSNBC, Newsmax, and C-Span.

Baila Sebrow is a journalist, inspirational international speaker, and 5TJT columnist who also hosted numerous radio and Cable TV shows, including Insight/Israel. She is the Founder and President of Neshoma Advocates, Inc., servicing children and families at-risk. Baila is also an acclaimed matchmaker and relationship coach, and president of Baila Sebrow Events, LLC. She has been been featured in various publications, including The New York Times.


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