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World Premiere of Follow Me: The Jonathan Netanyahu Story at the NY Jewish Film Festival

Posted by admin on January 20, 2012 in Spotlight |

JULY 4, 1976 ENTEBBE, UGANDA…. Led by Lieutenant Colonel Jonathan Netanyahu, crack Israeli commandos race from their airplanes covered by the midnight darkness.

Methodically, they approach a non-descript airline terminal, burst inside, killing the stunned terrorists. Helpless and shocked, 103 hostages lift their heads and gratefully weep at the mesmerizing sight of their saviors.

As the alarms begin to sound, the Israeli soldiers strike with surgical precision and speed — a lightning bolt of controlled, finely rehearsed fury.

It is all over in a few minutes.

Terrorists lay dead.

The hostages rush out to board the transport planes waiting to evacuate the hostages to safety.

During the mission, a lone shot from a control tower burst in the night — and a sharp cry for help is heard.

That cry would become the cry of an entire nation, mourning the loss of its prodigal son…

Thirty-year-old Jonathan Netanyahu has been shot dead.

After leading the dramatic raid to free the hostages at Entebbe, Jonathan Netanyahu becomes the “impossible mission’s” most tragic casualty.

With his death, Jonathan became an international hero.

The story of Jonathan Netanyahu is an intimate journey into a young hero’s mind. The narration for this compelling journey will be drawn from Jonathan Netanyahu’s own letters and words, which unveil the complex character of this thoroughly modern young hero. Jonathan’s words are deeply moving through his deep-rooted introspection, self-understanding, and heartfelt passions.

Jonathan Netanyahu’s American/Israeli adolescent life took a dramatic turn when he entered the Israeli military at the age of eighteen. His thoughts and worry turned from relationships and girls to guns and nationalism. Through his bravery and selflessness on the battlefield, he was recognized as a national hero. However, Jonathan questioned the core value of war. Obsessed with his duty to his young country, he put aside his personal life and feelings, resulting in a failed marriage. Years later, Jonathan would find love again and vow to change his life’s course… but it was not meant to be, as his life was suddenly cut down on the airstrip in Entebbe, Uganda.

What makes Jonathan’s story both universal and unique are his poetry, prose and letters which allow us to see beyond this tough soldier’s exterior, into a deep inner personality where heroism, duty, love, turmoil and doubt raged. Jonathan’s writings describe with striking clarity the exhilaration and fear he faced during the critical crossroads of his short but fascinating life. But the most important aspect of Jonathan’s letters is the recognition of his human frailty. Jonathan’s sensitivity to his shortcomings and flaws led to his seemingly prophetic knowledge that these very flaws would lead to a tragic, untimely death. Nevertheless, Jonathan Netanyahu dared to make a difference, and is a true modern day hero.

The film will consist of two story arcs that will tragically and heroically connect. The first is the dramatic Entebbe hijack and rescue — 8 days when a nation held its breath and executed a military miracle that redefined the Jewish Nation’s call — “Never Again!” The second is the remarkable life story of Jonathan Netanyahu, a young soldier who struggled to find the balance between the people and the Nation he loved. This film is about Jonathan’s life, and what led these two dramatic story arcs to intersect on that fateful day.

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