Benjamin Netanyahu and his brother Iddo have been given a selection of their late brother Yoni’s personal possessions by a fellow soldier.
Yoni Netanyahu commanded the elite IDF unit that freed more than 100 hostages being held by the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine at Entebbe Airport in Uganda in 1976. He was the only Israeli fatality.
Yoni entrusted the items to Yosef Shemesh, with whom he served in the Armoured Corps 71st Battalion on the Golan Heights, but this week Yosef handed them to the two Netanyahu brothers in a ceremony at the Prime Minister’s Office in Jerusalem.
The items include Yoni’s commando knife; the Passover Haggadah that Yoni read from, and which he mentions in his letters; his personal jumpsuit; books that he had given to Yosef; a unit shirt; as well as his sleeping bag, gloves and compass.
“We recognise some of these items,” said the prime minister. “This commando knife was in the unit. We recognise Yoni’s books. Here is the Haggadah, ahead of Passover, that he used at the seder he held for his soldiers. This is a very moving memento from the past. I am very grateful, thank you.”
Iddo Netanyahu, who is an Israeli physician as well as an author and a playwright, said: “It is very moving after so many years to see these things, especially the Haggadah that Yoni wrote about in his letters. He wrote about the special seder he held while in the battalion in a very special and very moving letter.”