Netanyahu Recalls His Heroic Brother


Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, commenting on “Follow Me,” a documentary film opening here this week on the life of his heroic older brother, Yonatan, told The Jewish Week: “This film will show an American audience about Yoni’s humanity, his leadership, and his commitment to Israel.”

Yonatan Netanyahu, a highly decorated Israeli soldier, was killed leading the Entebbe rescue in Uganda in 1976 that saved the lives of more than 100 Israeli hostages.

The film, which opens May 18 at the Quad Cinema (34 W. 13th St. [212] 255-2243), tells the personal story of a young man torn between his desire to pursue an academic life and his sense of commitment to serve his country.

“Now, in hindsight, and especially as I grow older,” Netanyahu wrote in an e-mail, “I see the unique personality of Yoni, which really was very special, a rare combination of humanity, leadership and endless commitment to Israel. His loss created for me a vacuum that cannot be filled, because he was so special, so different; highly intelligent but without pretense, without guile.

“But it’s not merely that he was a man of exceptional abilities,” the prime minister continued, “or that he could wield the sword and wield the pen. He could do both. It’s that he gave his life to the Jewish people.

“He felt that he had to do what he could do in the time he had available in order to assure the survival of the Jewish state.”

The prime minister and other family members, including Yonatan’s former wife, are interviewed in the film and speak about their relationship with the man who became a national legend upon his death, at the age of 30.