5, July 2016
Benjamin Netanyahu has arrived in Uganda at the start of a four-country trip to East Africa, becoming the first Israeli prime minister to visit the continent in at least 30 years. Arriving at Uganda’s Entebbe’s airport on Monday, Netanyahu said Israel’s raid to end a hostage crisis 40 years ago, in which his brother was killed, “changed the course” of his life.
The Entebbe rescue is widely seen as one of Israel’s greatest military successes. It also was a monumental event for Netanyahu, as the death of his brother, Yonatan, pushed him into the public eye and on a track that would take him to the country’s highest office.
“This is a deeply moving day for me,” he said. “Forty years ago they landed in the dead of night in a country led by a brutal dictator who gave refuge to terrorists. Today we landed in broad daylight in a friendly country led by a president who fights terrorists.”
Netanyahu travelled to Uganda with soldiers and pilots who were members of the rescue team. An Israeli band played sombre tunes at the airport on the shore of Lake Victoria, to mark the anniversary of the Israeli rescue mission, during which three hostages were killed.
Aside from Uganda, Netanyahu is also scheduled to visit Kenya, Rwanda and Ethiopia. In Uganda, Netanyahu will meet African leaders to discuss further cooperation and business opportunities, in a special summit to be attended by President Yoweri Museveni, as well as leaders from Kenya, Rwanda, South Sudan, Ethiopia, Zambia and Tanzania.