|AP Photo - May 9, 1972|
On May 8, 1972 Captain Reginald Levy, a pilot for Belgian Airlines Sabena, woke up. It was his 50th birthday. On that day, he captained a flight from Brussels bound for Tel Aviv, Israel with 90 passengers. Among those passengers on the Boeing 707 were four heavily armed Black September hijackers. Mid-flight they struck.
Also among the passengers was Captain Levy's wife, Dora. May 8th was also their wedding anniversary and they planned to celebrate in Tel Aviv with a special dinner.
The terrorist ordered Captain Levy to land at now Ben Gurion Airport and threatened to blow up the airplane if Israel didn't release over 300 Palestinian prisoners. After talking calmly with the hijackers, Captain Levy was sent to the Israeli authorities with a sample of their explosives to show that they were serious. Among the responding Israeli commandos where Ehud Barak, Israel's current Defense Minister and BeBe Netanyahu, the current Prime Minister. In detail, Captain Levy described to them the number of terrorists, their positions and weaponry.
For 23 hours the Palestinian terrorists held the hostages until the commandos stormed the plane, shooting two of them dead and capturing the remaining two members. No hostages were killed. After the attack, Captain Levy was quoted as saying, "Every one of us is lucky to be alive. I've had some tough times, but this was my toughest."
What an understatement! Reginald Levy, born in England in 1922, trained in Georgia for the Royal Air Force and became a decorated flier in WWII and in the Berlin Airlift. He earned the Distinguished Flying Cross after being shot down in WWII and escaping.
After the hijacking, Captain Levy was targeted by Black September, causing his parents and sister to flee England and eventually settling in Israel. However, Captain Levy and his brave wife remained and he continued to fly until his retirement in 1982. The day before his death, he called to tell ask his daughter to tell Israeli President Perez that he received his personal letter. The next day he suffered the fatal heart attack.
Don't you think he is worthy of our honor and respect? I do!
אתה נח בכלי הנשק של אלוהים, עכשיו הטל סרן.