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Raid on Entebbe Rescuer to Speak at Chabad of S. Barbara

Sassy Reuven helped save hostages held by terrorists in Uganda in 1975

Sassy Reuven, a member of the Israel Defense Special Operation Forces, in the Golan Heights.
Sassy Reuven, a member of the Israel Defense Special Operation Forces, in the Golan Heights.  (Courtesy photo)

Chabad of S. Barbara will host Sassy Reuven, a veteran of the Israel Defense Special Operation Forces (IDF), 7 p.m. Wednesday, June, 27, in Santa Barbara Central Library's Faulkner Gallery, 40 E. Anapamu St.

During the terror-filled years of 1973-76 Reuven served in the IDF's elite Red Beret paratrooper unit, playing a role in several covert operations in Israel's struggle against Arab terrorism.

In July 1976, he participated in the famed Entebbe counter-terrorist hostage-rescue mission — code named Operation Thunderbolt — flying thousands of miles over enemy territory to save Jewish hostages being held by terrorists in Uganda.

A week earlier, on June 27, an Air France plane was hijacked by members of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine and the German Revolutionary Cells and flown to Entebbe, the main airport of Uganda.

Ninety-five Israeli and Jewish passengers, as well as 11 Air France crew members, remained as hostages and were threatened with death.

Israeli transport planes carried 130 commandos more than 2,700 miles to Uganda for the night-time rescue operation. The operation lasted 90 minutes, and 106 hostages were rescued.

Five Israeli commandos were wounded and one, Lt. Col. Yonatan Netanyahu, was killed. All the hijackers, three hostages and 20-45 Ugandan soldiers were killed.

Reuven will share his personal experience from the moment he was called to duty, including preparation for the mission, landing in Uganda, and completing the mission behind enemy lines.

His story is Israel's story — of courage, endurance, defiance and a willingness to sacrifice everything for the right to live in your homeland in freedom.

Walk-ins to the program are welcome but available seating is limited. For further information, visit www.sbchabad.org.

— Rabbi Mendel Loschak for Chabad of S. Barbara.


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