Popularly known as the Uganda Scheme, the East Africa Scheme was a plan to resettle Jews in British East Africa. On April 2, 1903, British colonial secretary Joseph Chamberlain suggested to Zionist leader Theodor Herzl that Uganda in British East Africa might be an ideal place to settle Jewish immigrants. Herzl at first chose to ignore the proposal because of his concerns that it might jeopardize his own plan for an autonomous Jewish settlement in the Sinai. When it was apparent that there was no chance of the Sinai plan succeeding and Chamberlain again mentioned the Uganda idea to Leopold J. Greenberg, Herzl’s representative, Herzl instructed Greenberg to pursue negotiations. Sir Clement Hill, superintendent of African protectorates, suggested that the Jewish settlement could be politically independent with its own administration. Lacking authority to act on his own concerning the proposal, at the Sixth Zionist Congress at Basel on August 26, 1903, Herzl proposed the British Uganda Program as a temporary refuge for Jews in Russia in immediate danger. By a vote of 295-178 it was decided to send an expedition (“investigatory commission”) to examine the territory proposed – the Karamoja region in Northern Uganda. While Herzl made it clear that this program would not affect the ultimate aim of Zionism, a Jewish entity in the Land of Israel, the proposal aroused a storm at the Zionist Congress and nearly led to a split in the Zionist movement. The Jewish Territorialist Organization (ITO) was formed as a result of the unification of various groups who had supported Herzl’s Uganda proposals during the period 1903-1905. The Uganda Program was finally rejected by the Zionist movement at the Seventh Zionist Congress in 1905. Herzl died in the previous year.
Idi Amin’s anti-Israeli policies (early 1970s)
Israeli advisors and investors had played an important role in the development of Uganda as an independent nation. Idi Amin secured control over the country via a military coup in 1971. Early in 1972, President Idi Amin reversed foreign policy — never a major issue for Amin — to secure financial and military aid from Muammar Gaddafi of Libya. Amin expelled the remaining Israeli advisers, to whom he was much indebted, and became anti-Israel. To induce foreign aid from Saudi Arabia, he rediscovered his previously neglected Islamic heritage. He also commissioned the construction of a great mosque on Kampala Hill in the capital city, but it was never completed because much of the money intended for it was embezzled. The Soviet Union became Amin’s largest arms supplier. In August 1972, Amin expelled almost all of Uganda’s 80,000 Asians and seized their property. (source: Wikipedia)
Operation Entebbe (1976)
Operation Entebbe was a counter-terrorist hostage-rescue mission carried out by commandos of the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) at Entebbe Airport in Uganda on 4 July 1976. A week earlier, on 27 June, an Air France plane with 248 passengers was hijacked, by terrorists of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine and the German Revolutionary Cells, and flown to Entebbe, near Kampala, the capital of Uganda. Amin had offered the Palestinian hijackers a protected base at the old airport at Entebbe, from which to press their demands in exchange for the release of Israeli hostages. The hijackers separated the Israelis and, according to some, Jews from the larger group and forced them into another room. That afternoon, 47 non-Israeli hostages were released. The next day, 101 more non-Israeli hostages were allowed to leave on board an Air France aircraft. More than 100 Israeli and Jewish passengers, along with the non-Jewish pilot Captain Bacos, remained as hostages and were threatened with death.
The IDF acted on intelligence provided by the Israeli intelligence agency Mossad. The hijackers threatened to kill the hostages if their prisoner release demands were not met. This threat led to the planning of the rescue operation.These plans included preparation for armed resistance from Ugandan military troops.
The operation took place at night. Israeli transport planes carried 100 commandos over 2,500 miles (4,000 km) to Uganda for the rescue operation. The operation, which took a week of planning, lasted 90 minutes. 102 hostages were rescued. Five Israeli commandos were wounded and one, the commander, Lt. Col. Yonatan Netanyahu, was killed. All the hijackers, three hostages and 45 Ugandan soldiers were killed, and thirty Soviet-built MiG-17s and MiG-21s of Uganda’s air force were destroyed. 24 hours later, a fourth Israeli hostage was killed by Ugandan army officers at a nearby hospital.The rescue, named Operation Thunderbolt, is sometimes referred to retroactively as Operation Jonathan in memory of the unit’s leader, Yonatan Netanyahu. He was the older brother of Benjamin Netanyahu, who served as the two-time Prime Minister of Israel from 1996 to 1999 and from 2009-present. (source: Wikipedia)