The Friends of the Israel Defense Forces (FIDF) Southeast Region hosted the Legends and Heroes of the Israel Defense Forces (IDF): Operation Entebbe, on Dec. 2 at the Woodruff Arts Center in Atlanta.
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This donor appreciation event hosted over 200 FIDF supporters and community leaders from across Georgia and featured Brigadier General (Ret.) Joshua Shani, C-130 Squad Commander and Lead Pilot for Operation Entebbe, who offered personal insight into this historic mission.
On July 4, 1976, as Americans celebrated the bicentennial, four Israeli Air Force C-130 Hercules transport aircrafts secretly flew to Entebbe Airport at midnight without being detected. Then Lt. Col., Joshua Shani who was the lead pilot, transported a 29-man assault unit led by the late Lt. Col. Yonatan Netanyahu, brother of Israel Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, along with a black Mercedes that looked like President Idi Amin’s vehicle and Land Rovers that usually accompanied Amin’s Mercedes.
This force was composed entirely of commandos from the IDF unit Sayeret Matkal, and was given the primary task of assaulting the old terminal and rescuing the Israeli hostages.
Other featured speakers included FIDF National Director and CEO, Maj. Gen. (Res.) Yitzhak (Jerry) Gershon and 2nd Lieutenant Shelly M., who is a reconnaissance combat officer in the Combat Intelligence Corps. 2nd Lt. Shelly M. was the only female soldier, among 20 men, in her professional training unit and completed this training with honors.
This marked the first time in the history of the IDF that a female soldier received this award in a combat intelligence course. Second Lt. Shelly M. is also the recipient of the President’s Award of Excellence, presented to her by Israel’s President, Shimon Peres.
FIDF Southeast Chairman, Garry Sobel stated, “This evening, we honored an IDF legend in Brigadier General Joshua Shani, for his involvement in Operation Entebbe.
As General Shani stated himself, “The IDF is now in the job of saving the lives of Jews – no matter where you are in the world.”
His remarks embolden the mission of FIDF; Their job is to look after Israel. Ours is to look after them.
“Tonight, we honored the brave men and women that serve in the IDF, both the legends, like General Shani and the heroes, like Lt. Shelly M. Both, in their own unique way, are contributing to the safety and security of Israel. In return, we honor them, we support them and we offer them the comfort in knowing that they are not alone – we will look after them,” said Seth Baron, Executive Director, FIDF Southeast Region.