The senior official in the Obama administration who referred to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu as “chickshit” probably has much more courageous things than Operation Isotope on his resume.

Operation Isotope was a raid involving the rescue of hijacked Sabena Flight 571, and Netanyahu was a participant, along with another Israeli Prime Minister-to-be, Ehud Barak:

On 9 May 1972 at 4:00 p.m. the rescue operation began: a team of 16 Sayeret Matkal commandos, led by Ehud Barak and including Benjamin Netanyahu, both future Israeli Prime Ministers, approached the airplane. The commandos were disguised as airplane technicians in white overalls, and were able to convince the terrorists that the aircraft needed repair. The commandos stormed the aircraft and took control of the plane in ten minutes, killing both male hijackers and capturing the two women. All the passengers were rescued. Three of the passengers were wounded, one of whom eventually died from her wounds. Netanyahu was wounded during the rescue, presumably by friendly fire. The two female surviving terrorists were eventually sentenced to life imprisonment, but were freed as part of a prisoner exchange after the 1982 Lebanon War.

Benjamin Netanyahu is congratulated by former Israeli President Zalman Shazar during a ceremony honoring the elite commandos who rescued the hostages from the Sabena Flight 571.

[Benjamin Netanyahu is congratulated by former Israeli President
Zalman Shazar during a ceremony honoring the elite commandos who
rescued the hostages from the Sabena Flight 571. (via Maggie’s Notebook)]

To paraphrase Winston Churchill: some chicken, some shit.

Oh, and by the way, extreme bravery—and airplane hostage rescues—seem to run in the Netanyahu family. His brother Yonatan was the only Israeli soldier killed in Operation Entebbe, which is known in Israel as Mivtsa Yonatan (Operation Yonatan) in honor of Netanyahu, who was Bibi’s older brother.

[Neo-neocon is a writer with degrees in law and family therapy, who blogs at neo-neocon.]