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Yoni Netanyahu

by Mika Zeidman from Lod

A hero for me is a person that has made decisions, taken actions, or demonstrated behaviors, that has made me feel he or she is worthy of my awe. For me a hero is a person that inspires me. It is a person in whom I see something that I don't see in all people, and makes me want to look up to him or her. I think a hero is a person who does not seek adoration or recognition for his or her great actions, but is motivated by a feeling of what is right to do, and can care for others even before looking at him or herself ; that is what moves me to emotionally connect with such a person. I strongly believe exalting a person by giving him or her this big title of a "hero", has a tremendous meaning and says a lot about that person.

Yoni Netanyahu was an Israeli lieutenant colonel. When he was two years old, Yoni's family moved from New York to Israel. His family and he often traveled back to the United States, for short and long periods of time, for his professor father's academic research. Yoni came from a privileged family, and was the older brother of Iddo Netanyahu an Israeli physician, author and playwright, and Benjamin Netanyahu, the current Prime Minister of Israel. Yoni was always an excellent student no matter where he was, and excelled as an athlete as well. He was a social leader as the head of the student council in school, and was very active in the Scouts after school. When he was 18 years old, Yoni started his service in the military, and became an exceptional dedicated soldier. Later, when he got accepted for Physics studies in Harvard University, he decided to leave Harvard after one year of studies, so he could keep serving in the military. Throughout his service he was part of the IDF, Armored Corps and the Elite commando unit "Sayeret Matkal". He took part in many important operations, both in the "Six-Day War" and "Yom Kipur war", in senior positions, and even received the medal of distinguished service. Yoni Netanyahu's achievements and choices, prove what a contributing natural leader he was.

Yoni Netanyahu was the head of a command unit in operation "Entebbe", which was later named operation "Yonatan" after him. On July 4, 1976, an Air France plane was hijacked by terrorists during its flight from Israel to France, and the passengers were kidnapped. The plane was forced to land in the African country of Uganda. A military operation was planned by the Israeli Defense Forces (the Israeli Army), in order to rescue the 105 Jewish, Israeli passengers, and the plane's staff members. Despite the fact it seemed like an impossible mission, which almost everyone was skeptical about carrying out, Yoni insisted it was possible. It was the first time an operation of this kind was carried out, and it is still said to be one of the most daring operations of all times. The operation turned out to be amazingly successful, beyond all expectations, since almost all of the hostages were rescued safely. Sadly, during the operation, Yoni Netanyahu, one of the people mainly responsible for its success, was killed. After his death, a book of the letters he wrote to his loved ones, during his service and time in the battle field, was published and became very well known. One of his many famous sayings is: " I must feel certain that not only at the moment of my death shall I be able to account for the time I have lived, I ought to be ready at every moment of my life to confront myself and say this is what I've done", and I strongly believe he could.

As I see it, a person like Yoni Netanyahu definitely deserves to be called a "hero". His courage and will to fight for what he believed in, not by talking or advising, but by his actions, attained my admiration. Yoni placed his very life on the line for others, because he believed that if saving lives were possible, there is no way he would be able to prevent himself from trying. Another feature I look up to, especially when it comes to such heroism, is modesty. I think there is nothing more beautiful than a person who does the greatest heroic deeds and never stops to credit himself, but only to think of how he can contribute more, honestly believing that acting this way is the obvious thing to do. Finally, I personally have a strong emotional connection to soldiers. As an Israeli, I am very grateful and touched by the soldiers who go out to protect and fight for me and the rest of Israeli society. I strongly believe Yoni Netanyahu is the definition of a true hero.

Page created on 5/1/2017 12:00:00 AM

Last edited 5/1/2017 12:00:00 AM

The beliefs, viewpoints and opinions expressed in this hero submission on the website are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the beliefs, viewpoints and opinions of The MY HERO Project and its staff.

Related Links

Follow Me: The Yoni Netanyahu Story - Film
The Letters Of Jonathan Netanyahu - A book of Yoni''s letters
Yoni''s Last Battle - A book written by Yoni''s Brother Iddo- an Israeli writer
Entebbe: The Jonathan Netanyahu Story: A Defining Moment - Another book written by Yoni''s Brother Iddo- an Israeli writer
90 Minutes at Entebbe - A book written by the Canadian William Stephenson