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Behind the Headlines Portrait of Mrs. Bloch

July 15, 1976
See Original Daily Bulletin From This Date

During her captivity at Entebbe Airport, Mrs. Dora Bloch was a tower of strength to her fellow passengers, according to an English woman who struck up an acquaintance with her before being released together with the non-Jewish passengers.

The English woman, whose name was not given, paid tribute to Mrs. Bloch in an interview yesterday from Paris with the BBC. She had recognized Mrs. Bloch from newspaper photographs as the elderly lady she had first seen walking with difficulty in the aircraft after it had been hijacked by terrorists while enroute from Athens to Paris.

She had first spoken to her on Tuesday (June 29, the day after the landing at Entebbe), in the ladies room in the air terminal. “I was rather upset and she comforted me.” Always kind and calm, Mrs. Bloch used to get up every morning at six o’clock and do her washing. She would explain that her son, Ilan Hartuv, had to have a clean shirt every day. They were going to New York for another son’s wedding.

To passengers who were frightened, she would say that she had seen many troubles during her lifetime, and assured them they would survive the present ordeal.

Mrs. Bloch had said that if the women were released ahead of the men, she would stay behind rather than be separated from her son. At that stage, the passenger had not realized that Mrs. Bloch was an Israeli. She had not suspected, either, that she was British. Mrs. Bloch had told her that she spoke many languages.


The passenger also paid tribute to the behavior of the Jewish and Israeli passengers after they had been separated from the non-Jews. “Though in far more danger than us, they showed the most incredible dignity, and showed concern for us. We, for our part, tried to make ourselves scarce. But the Jewish passengers who had been taken to the other side continued to pray openly and to demand kosher food.

“When told we would be leaving I felt guilty. On the bus we felt as though we were abandoning them and I could not look at them.”

At Entebbe, the non-Jews had been allowed to move around freely. But the Israelis were always under guard. If they moved, it was in fives, usually guarded by the woman terrorist with the gun.

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