Cheltenham High School Hall of Fame

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Jonathan  Netanyahu

class of 1964
inducted in 1984

Jonathan Netanyahu

Officer, Israeli Defense Forces
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".