Ephraim Sneh, a stocky, taciturn soldier-turned-politician, doesn't scare easily. Entebbe, the most daring rescue operation in Israel's military history, wasn't his first taste of combat. The Yom Kippur War, he shrugged, was worse. But he shudders at how easily it could have gone disastrously wrong.
As the giant Hercules transport plane lumbered through the night sky out of the Ugandan airport on July 4, 1976, one of the 98 hostages beckoned to Col. Sneh, who headed the medical team. "Excuse me, sir," the plump woman said, "I'm afraid I'm sitting on something military."