Rami was one of the elite commandos of the IDF who travelled over 5000 kilometres from Israel to Entebbe in one of the greatest military operations of all time, to free the Jewish hostages taken by Arab and German terrorists in 1976.
There’s a twinkle in Rami’s eye, as he recounts those days bringing to life these historical events with a sense of humble pride and a sense of humour as the audience hung off every word in captivated wonder and amazement.
And although that is an incredible story in itself, it’s not the only reason that Rami inspires me.
While many people see Rami and his fellow soldiers as heroes, he doesn’t look at it that way. Instead he sees himself as a soldier doing his job.
Nothing more. Nothing less. A simple man.
Yet, for a few hours on July 4, 1976, he was more than a simple man. He, along with his fellow soldiers, became angels, as if sent by God himself, to save Jews in distress in a faraway land.
They were young – so young. They didn’t have the wisdom that comes with age. They didn’t have the experience that comes with a lifetime of events. But what they did have was a fierce determination, an unparalleled capability and a youthful abundance that could not accept defeat, would not accept defeat, and did not accept defeat.
They were facing destiny and their commander, Yoni Netanyahu, knew this when he addressed the soldiers telling them, “It is the duty of every Jew to help another Jew in distress.”
This was a mission that brought life to those words, infusing them with a purpose and a goal and a determination.
For the soldiers of this special elite unit, it may have started off like just another mission, but it ended up being so much more than that.
Because it was more than just about Israel. It was more than just about hostages. It was more than just about fighting terrorism.
It was a mission to save a few Jewish hostages, but ended up saving the Jewish world instead.
And, as Rami tells us, for the first time in his life, having grown up only as an Israeli, he realised that he was a Jew as well. The hostages he saved were not only Israeli citizens, but Jews from all over and it dawned on him that the hostages and the soldiers, Israelis and Jews, were all part of the same people – for those were days when all Jews around the world were united in fear and in hope and in prayers for our Jewish brethren in peril.
This is the inspirational message that Rami brings to us. This is the message that must be heard. This is the message that we must all share.
Whatever our differences are, wherever we live, whether it’s in Israel or the diaspora, whatever our views are or whatever our opinions, we are part of the same people. We are connected through a shared history, a deep culture, an incredible journey and an amazing story.
Rami left for Entebbe as an Israeli, but came back to Israel as a Jew. But he did not make the journey alone, for the entire Jewish people were with him.