class of 1964
inducted in 1984
Officer, Israeli Defense
Hero of the 1976 Anti-Terrorist Raid on Entebbe Aiport
Born in the United States in 1946, Jonathan "Yoni"
Netanyahu emigrated with his family to Israel when he was three years old.
The family returned to the United States often. Netanyahu entered Cheltenham High School in 1963 while his father, Ben-Zion,
taught at Dropsie University (then Dropsie College) in Philadelphia.
Netanyahu studied at Harvard University before he became an Israeli
paratrooper. He was wounded in the Six Day War and decorated for bravery in
the Yom Kippur War. Netanyahu was killed at the age of thirty, while leading
the raid on the airport at Entebbe, Uganda, to free hostages, most of them
Israelis, who had been held captive for almost a week by hijackers.
Netanyahu was one of the best-known young officers in the Israel Defense
Forces. He had been especially picked to lead the most crucial part of the
hostage rescue and the entire operation was afterwards designated as
"Operation Jonathan" in his honor.
An Israeli organization has been established in his memory called the
Jonathan Institute, the purpose of which is to study causes of terrorism and
the best ways to cope with it.
From his early teens, Netanyahu wrote letters to relatives and friends. These
have been collected by his family and published under the title Self Portrait
of a Hero. In the book's introduction, Herman Wouk
calls the collection of Netanyahu's letters "a remarkable work of
literature, possibly one of the greatest documents of our time".