My Cousin Jean Jacques Mimouni:
He was born in France on December 6th 1956, the 6th and last child, the first boy after 5 daughters. His family immigrated to Israel from France in 1974 just after The Yom Kippur War and settled in Netanyah. His Father worked at the French Consulate in Tel-Aviv and
Jean Jacques studied at "L'ecole Des Freres" in Jaffa, a school for the children of the Diplomatic Corps. After school he used to volunteer and work with high risk youth. He was a brilliant student, his major was philosophy and literature. He loved poetry, music, played the guitar and loved the long walks along the beach with his dog. He had dreams,he wanted to study criminology at the university, he was filled with joy, he loved life and life loved him in return.
In the summer of 1976 he was on his way to Paris for some vacation with his friend, the Consulate's son. He flew to Paris via Athens on Air France flight 139. He wanted to travel and clear his mind before enrolling in the IDF. On that morning of June 29th, 1976, soon after the 12:30 p.m. takeoff, the flight was hijacked by two Palestinians from the PLFP (Popular Front For The Liberation Of Palestine) and two Germans from the German Revolutionary cells — Wilfried Bose and Brigitte Kuhlmann. The hijackers diverted the flight to Benghazi Libya, and was held on the ground for seven hours for refueling. The plane left
Benghazi, and at 3:15 p.m. it arrived at Entebbe Airport in Uganda.
At Entebbe, the four hijackers were joined by at least four others, and supported by the pro-Palestinian forces of Uganda's President, Idi Amin. They demanded the release of 40 Palestinians held in Israel and 13 other detainees.They threatened that if these demands were not met, they would begin to kill hostages on July 1st, 1976. The hijackers deliberately sorted the hostages into two groups—Jews and Gentiles. Jean Jacques chose to identify himself as an Israeli Jew to the hijackers even though he had a French passport. The hijackers held the passengers hostage for a week in the transit hall of Entebbe Airport—now the old terminal. Some hostages were released, but 85 Israeli and/or Jewish hostages remained, as well as 20 others, most of whom included the crew of the Air France plane. The hijackers threatened to kill them if Israel did not comply with their demands.
On the July 1st deadline, the Israeli government offered to negotiate with the hijackers in order to extend the deadline to July 4th. Amin asked them to extend the deadline until July 4th. This extension of the hostage deadline would prove crucial in allowing Israeli forces enough time to get to Entebbe.
During the week at Entebbe, Jean Jacques helped take care of the children, inventing games, playing with them, and trying to keep them busy. Because she found a picture of him in uniform while searching him, Brigitte, the German terrorist, regularly interrogated and tortured Jean Jacques, thinking he was an Israeli soldier.
When the IDF landed at Entebbe, and entered the terminal, the German female terrorist, in a desperate act, threw a grenade towards Jean Jacques and the Pasco Cohen family. To protect the family, Jean Jacques grabbed the grenade and was about to run toward the
bathrooms with it. At that exact moment the Israeli soldiers burst in, shouting at everyone to get down. When Jean Jacques started towards the bathrooms, they mistook him for a hijacker and shot him. While he was falling, the grenade exploded in his hands.
He died in Entebbe a hero, and he meant the world to us.
-Anna He—a Seattle-based Israeli musician