If you thought Entebbe was wild, you should read about Israel’s roller coaster airplane drama in August 1973.
On August 15, 1973, Canadian Airline Pilots Association urged the Canadian government to bar flights to Canada by Israeli commercial airliners after Israel diverted a Lebanese airliner the weekend before. The incident, in which passengers were ordered off and the plane turned up no threat, was swiftly condemned by the U.N. Security Council, France, London and U.S. pilots.
The day after the CAPA’s actions, a Lebanese plane with 119 passengers was hijacked and then intercepted by Israeli military planes at Lod airport:
Today’s incident happened just six days after Israel intercepted a Lebanese airliner over Beirut and forced it down in Israel and less than 24 hours after the Security Council condemned Israel for the action. The only time previously a plane was hijacked to Israel was in May, 1972, when Arab terrorists took over a Belgian Sabena Boeing 707. Israeli commandoes, disguised as maintenance men bluffed their way aboard killing two of the hijackers.
Shortly thereafter, the circumstances of this hijacking were revealed — not your typical hijacking:
The hijacker, Muhammed Zaitouni, a Libyan citizen, told a press conference that he hijacked the plane to prove to the world that not all Arabs hate the Israelis. He said that from childhood he was moved by the persecution of the Jews and that he and many others believe Israel has a right to exist. He said he was not a member of any organization. The pistols he had were purchased in Egypt.
Perhaps not the craziest hijacking in the name of philosemitism. But definitely "up" there.
[Image: Boeing 707-329 by RuthAS/Wikimedia Commons]