Yonatan יוני Netanyahu, Halevi

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Yonatan יוני Netanyahu, Halevi

Also Known As: "Yoni"
Birthdate: (30)
Birthplace: New York, NY, United States
Death: July 4, 1976 (30)
Entebbe, Uganda (Military operation to rescue Israeli hostages from Palestinian terrorists)
Place of Burial: Israel
Immediate Family:

Son of Benzion בנציון Netanyahu, Halevi and Celia Zila צילה Segal
Ex-husband of Private
Partner of Private
Father of Netanyahu
Brother of Benjamin (Bibi) Netanyahu, 9th Prime Minister of Israel and Private

Occupation: Operation Entebbe Military Hero, Soldier, Commander of Sayeret Matkal)
Managed by: Private User
Last Updated:
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Immediate Family

About Yonatan יוני Netanyahu, Halevi



Yonatan Netanyahu (From Wikipedia)

Yonatan "Yoni" Netanyahu (Hebrew: יונתן "יוני" נתניהו; March 13, 1946 – July 4, 1976), was commander of the elite Israeli army commando unit Sayeret Matkal. He was killed in action during Operation Entebbe in Uganda. He was awarded the Medal of Distinguished Service for his conduct in the Yom Kippur War. His younger brother, Benjamin Netanyahu, is the prime minister of Israel.


Yonatan Netanyahu was the eldest son of Cela and Benzion Netanyahu, a professor emeritus of history at Cornell University. His two brothers were Binyamin and Iddo. Binyamin (nicknamed "Bibi") was elected Prime Minister of Israel in 1996, and again in 2009. Iddo, the youngest of the three, is a radiologist and writer. All three brothers served in Sayeret Matkal.

Yonatan Netanyahu attended Cheltenham High School in Wyncote, Pennsylvania, where he was a classmate of Baseball Hall of Famer Reggie Jackson.

Netanyahu married Tuti on August 17, 1967. Shortly after their wedding, they flew to the U.S., where Yoni enrolled at Harvard University. He took classes in philosophy and mathematics, excelling in both (Hastings, 1979) and was on the Dean's List at the end of his first year. However, feeling restless at being away from Israel, especially with Israel skirmishing against Egypt during the War of Attrition, Yoni transferred to Jerusalem's Hebrew University in 1968. In early 1969, he left his studies and returned to the army.

Military career

Netanyahu joined the Israeli Defence Forces in 1964. He volunteered to serve in the Paratroopers Brigade, and excelled in the Officer Training Course. He was eventually given command of a paratroopers company. On June 5, 1967, during the Six Day War, his battalion fought the battle of Um Katef in Sinai, then reinforced the Golan Heights. During the battle, Yonatan received a wound to his elbow while helping rescue a fellow soldier who lay wounded deep behind enemy lines.

After the Six Day War, Netanyahu went to the United States to study at Harvard University, but returned a year later because of the War of Attrition. Instead, he studied at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, returning to active military service after half a year.

In the early 1970s he joined Sayeret Matkal (Israeli special forces), and in the summer of 1972 was appointed as the unit's deputy commander. During that year, he commanded a raid (Operation Crate 3) in which senior Syrian officers were captured and exchanged in return for captive Israeli pilots. The following year he participated in Operation Spring of Youth (Hebrew: מבצע אביב נעורים‎). in which the alleged terrorists and leadership of Black September were selectively killed by Sayeret Matkal, Shayetet-13 and the Mossad.

During the Yom Kippur War in October 1973, Netanyahu commanded a Sayeret Matkal force in the Golan Heights that killed more than 40 Syrian Commando officers in a battle which thwarted the Syrian commandos' raid in the Golan's heartland. During the same war, he also rescued Lieutenant Colonel Yossi Ben Hanan from Tel Shams, while Ben Hanan was lying wounded behind Syrian lines.

Following the war, Netanyahu was awarded Medal of Distinguished Service (Hebrew: עיטור המופת‎), Israel's third highest military decoration, for his wartime conduct. Netanyahu then volunteered to serve as armor commander, due to the heavy casualties inflicted on the Israeli Armored Corps during the war, with a disproportionate number of these in the officer ranks. Netanyahu excelled in Tank Officers course. and was given command of the Barak Armored Brigade, which had been shattered during the war. Netanyahu turned his brigade into the leading military unit in the Golan Heights.

In June 1975 Netanyahu left the Armored Corps and returned to Sayeret Matkal as unit commander. He was killed in action on July 4, 1976. while commanding Operation Entebbe, his first big operation since returning to the unit. Netanyahu was the only Israeli soldier killed during the raid (along with 3 hostages, all of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine members, and dozens of Ugandan soldiers). The operation itself was considered a success by Israel, and was posthumously renamed Mivtsa Yonatan (Operation Yonatan) in honor of Netanyahu.

Netanyahu was buried in Jerusalem's Military Cemetery at Mount Herzl on July 6 following a military funeral attended by enormous crowds and top-ranking officials. Shimon Peres, then Defense Minister, said during the eulogy that “a bullet had torn the young heart of one of Israel’s finest sons, one of its most courageous warriors, one of its most promising commanders – the magnificent Yonatan Netanyahu.”

In 1972, he and Tuti were divorced. Netanyahu was living with his girlfriend of two years, Bruria, at the time of his death.

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Yonatan יוני Netanyahu, Halevi's Timeline

March 13, 1946
New York, NY, United States
July 4, 1976
Age 30
Entebbe, Uganda
July 6, 1976
Age 30