PM Netanyahu Attends Memorial Ceremony for Yoni Netanyahu
(Communicated by the Prime Minister's Media Adviser)
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, his wife Sara, and the boys Yair and Avner Netanyahu, this evening (Tuesday, 12 July 2016), at the Mt. Herzl military cemetery in Jerusalem, attended a memorial ceremony for the Prime Minister's brother, Lt.-Col. Yoni Netanyahu to mark 40 years [on the Hebrew calendar] since he fell while commanding the IDF General Staff Reconnaissance Unit during the operation to free the hostages at Entebbe.
Also attending the ceremony were the Prime Minister's brother Ido and his family, President Reuven Rivlin, former President Shimon Peres, Knesset Speaker Yuli Edelstein, ministers, MKs, former hostages and friends of the family.
Benjamin and Ido Netanyahu recited the Kaddish prayer over their brother's grave.
Ido Netanyahu, Lt.-Col. (ret.) Shlomi Reisman, who served under Yoni at Entebbe, Yitzhak Seibosh, who had served under Yoni in the IDF General Staff Reconnaissance Unit, and Benny Davidson, a representative of the hostages, spoke at the ceremony.
From the remarks of Ido Netanyahu:
"Yoni deserved that the truth is what should be told about him. For a brother, this is least that a brother can do for a brother who gave his life for the state and for saving his fellow countrymen. This also applies to those who fought with him and who recently saw fit to publish their memoirs in a book entitled 'Operation Yonatan in the First Person' in order to correct a longstanding injustice that was also done to them but mainly to their commander. One's heart grieves that the book was not published while his parents were still alive and were forced to bear, year after year, around this date, the attacks libels against their dead son. But they also know that the truth is strong and that the truth about their beloved son would survive."
From the remarks of Shlomi Reisman:
"The heart of the operation, eliminating the terrorists and freeing the hostages, was entrusted to the unit, and it was Yoni who led it successfully on this impossible mission. Over the 36 hours of the battle, he stood like a rock – in the face of operational uncertainty and the lack of time, in the face of our difficult questions, soldiers and officers, and there weren't always answers to questions, and in the face of the political and operational leadership that had to rely on him and draw from him confidence in the ability to carry out the operation successfully."
From the remarks of Benny Davidson:
"Yoni was killed because of us. I felt guilty as a child and sad and deeply hurt as I grew up, only next to his memorial, in the shade of the ancient synagogue and inspired by the American Liberty Bell and Yoni's childhood friends, did I find new words: Yoni was killed for us. Yoni fell and in falling gave us life. Yoni fell in battle even as he showed unparalleled daring, bravery, leadership and dedication. Yoni fell at the height of an operation that was, in its essence, a call of liberty in a distant land for all its Israeli and Jewish residents. Dear Yoni, I did not know you and since 4 July 1976 and on my birthdays I celebrate my freedom and mourn your falling. May your memory be blessed."
Attached photo credit: Kobi Gideon (GPO)