From Tzivi’s July ’12 Spotlight:
July 4, 2011 was the 35th anniversary of Israel’s daring raid on Entebbe Airport so I expected some commemoration; to my dismay, the day came and went with barely a word from the American press.
But filmmakers Ari Daniel Pinchot and Jonathan Gruber were way ahead of me. I’m not sure when they started work on Follow Me: The Yoni Netanyahu Story, but releasing it now allows them to include footage shot at Yoni’s graveside last year, with extremely moving glimpses of elderly Benzion Netanyahu supported by his two remaining sons Benjamin (“Bibi”) and Iddo.
Looking back 36 years, the success of the raid on Entebbe still seems impossible. Using interviews with many of the members of Yoni’s team (including former Prime Minister Ehud Barak who is now Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s Minister of Defense), Pinchot and Gruber describe the elaborate planning that went into this dangerous operation: over 100 Jewish hostages were rescued from a distant airport in Uganda and all the terrorists were killed; Yoni was the only Israeli soldier lost that day.
Pinchot and Gruber are equally eloquent in their depiction of Yoni’s private life, interviewing not just family members and friends, but Yoni’s wife Tirza “Tutti” Goldman and Bruria Shaked Okun (the woman he was living with after he and Tutti divorced). Long before he was killed in action during the raid on Entebbe, Yoni had distinguished himself in both the Six Day War in 1967 and the Yom Kippur War in 1973. When he died, he was a Lieutenant Colonel in the IDF, and a respected commander in the elite Sayeret Matkal.
Yoni Netanyahu was a complex man of many accomplishments. In a summer season filled with overblown cinematic “superheroes,” this genuine hero is an especially welcome presence. I urge you to see Follow Me when it opens at the Music Box Theatre on Southport on July 6. For more information, visit: www.musicboxtheatre.com.