Professor to discuss US aspects of historic rescue at international event

June 30, 2021

A Penn State professor will discuss the American aspects of a historic rescue at 11 a.m. July 5 as part of a hybrid, international event marking the Israeli operation’s 45th anniversary. 

The event — which can be attended in person at a Liberty Bell-adjacent synagogue, Philadelphia’s Congregation Mikveh Israel, or via Zoom — is free, open to the public, and requires registration. It commemorates the 45th anniversary of Operation Thunderbolt, during which Israeli commandos rescued more than 100 hostages in Entebbe, Uganda.

Boaz Dvir, assistant professor of journalism in the Donald P. Bellisario College of Communications, will describe how Operation Thunderbolt has impacted America’s War on Terror to this day.

The award-winning filmmaker has spent more than a decade researching and writing about the operation. He co-produced “How Special Ops Became Center to the War on Terror” with Retro Report for The New York Times. His forthcoming feature documentary, “Cojot,” tells the little-known story of an Entebbe hostage who contributed to the rescue’s success.

Dvir will be joined at the event by some of the operation’s key figures, including Rami Sherman, an officer in the commando unit that led the rescue; lead pilot Joshua Shani; Doron Almog, who commanded the paratroopers who supported the commandos; and former Mossad agent Avner Avraham.

“I’m honored to speak alongside the people who made this operation happen,” said Dvir, who also directs the Holocaust, Genocide and Human Rights Education Initiative at Penn State. “Every time I speak with one of them, I learn something new. I’m looking forward to gaining new insights on Monday.”

The event, which will be moderated by Jerusalem Post’s chief political reporter Gil Hoffman, will also feature a live video address by former Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, brother of the commandos’ commander, the late Yoni Netanyahu.

The event is hosted by the American Foundation Creating Leadership for Israel and co-sponsored by more than a dozen organizations from around the world.

Last Updated July 08, 2021