The late Elizabeth Taylor, a convert to Judaism, starred in one of the two Hollywood films that came out virtually simultaneously following the extraordinary rescue of most of the 105 Jewish passengers aboard an Air France jet bound for Israel that was hijacked by Palestinian terrorists and members of the notorious German Baader Meinhoff gang in the summer of 1976 and forced to fly to Entebbe Airport in Idi Amin's Uganda. It was a shocking episode, in which the captors separated Jews from non-Jews (who were not detained), and in which three Jewish hostages died. Another, an elderly woman who had been taken to hospital earlier after choking on her food, was shot on Amin's orders in reprisal for the raid. The Israeli commandos who executed the daring raid, which captured the imagination of the world, were led by Binyamin Netanyahu's brother, Yonatan Netanyahu, who was killed in the execution of his duty. Now, in the wake of Elizabeth Taylor's death this week, the Jewish Telegraphic Agency (JTA) has released the following report (dated 16 June 1977) from its archives:
Movie actress Elizabeth Taylor offered herself as a hostage for the more than 100 Air France hijack victims held by terrorists at Entebbe Airport in Uganda during the tense days before the Israeli rescue raid last July 4. That disclosure was made here by Israel's Ambassador to the United States, Simcha Dinitz, at a Jewish National Fund gala honoring Ms. Taylor and her husband, John W. Warner, for their devotion to the land reclamation work of the JNF and other humanitarian causes.
Dinitz, who presented the couple with a certificate for a forest to be planted in their names within the American National Bicentennial Park near Jerusalem, said that Ms. Taylor's offer was "appreciated" and "the Jewish people will always remember it."
More than 1200 friends and supporters of the JNF attended the event which was addressed by Moshe Rivlin, the JNF's new world chairman who flew in from Jerusalem for the occasion. "We hate to destroy, we love to build, and it is the common desire of the people of Israel for peace no matter what party is in power," Rivlin said.
Ms. Taylor said "The trees we planted with our own hands in Israel symbolize a new hope that the whole world, Christian, Jew and Arab, will live as one in harmony and under one God."For more on her pro-Israel activities see: http://www.nationalreview.com/corner/263133/elizabeth-taylor-stood-israel-benjamin-weinthal