Entebbe, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT | Benjamin Netanyahu is in Uganda, his second visit as Prime Minister of Israel in four years.
He was received at Entebbe Airport by Prime Minister Dr Ruhakana Rugunda and state minster for Foreign Affairs Henry Okello Oryema on Monday morning.
He is in Uganda for a one-day visit to discuss agriculture, security, technolody and trade among many issues, three years after a first visit in 2016 to commemorate 40 years after Israel commandos rescued hostages in the famous Operation Thunderbolt at Entebbe.
Before taking off from Jerusalem, Netanyahu, who traveled with his wife, Sara, and the head of Mossad (the intelligence agency), Yossi Cohen, said “Israel returns to Africa, and Africa returned to Israel. These are very important links for politics, the economy and security.”
Netanyahu added: “We strengthen the relationship with this country and I hope that at the end of the day there is good news for the State of Israel.”
The visit in 2016, then, marked a rare visit by a sitting Israeli prime minister to sub-Saharan African nations and included a summit on security and economic cooperation involving several countries – Zambia, South Sudan, Kenya, Ethiopia, Tanzania and Rwanda.
He has been to Uganda before, in 2009, before he became PM but beyond diplomacy and trade, the trips have a deep personal meaning for Netanyahu.
His brother Yonatan was killed in July 1976 as he led a commando raid in Entebbe, Uganda, to free passengers aboard an Air France plane hijacked by two Palestinians and two Germans.
About 100 Israeli and Jewish hostages were freed in the raid but 20 Ugandan soldiers and seven hijackers were killed, along with several Ugandan civilians.
Yonatan Netanyahu was the lone casualty among the Israeli assault team.