Jewish Film Festival Shows Movie Tribute to Yoni Netanyahu

Yoni Netenyahu Film Premiere

Last month the Merrimack Valley Jewish Federation held a Jewish Film Festival at Osgood Landing in North Andover, attracting more than 150 people from around the area.

The film festival’s feature presentation “Follow Me, The “Yoni” Netanyahu Story,” left many in attendance with tears in their eyes as they left the theater at Osgood Landing.

Yoni Netanyahu was the older brother of current Israeli Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu and a legendary hero in Israel. Netanyahu, then a commander in the Israeli army, “was killed at the age of 30 leading the 1976 hostage rescue mission at the Entebbe Airport in Uganda.”

In the film “Follow Me”, co-directors Jonathan Gruber (Jewish Soldiers in Blue and Gray, NYJFF 2011) and Ari Daniel Pinchot (Producer, Paper Clips) present a moving portrait of Yoni’s life through his own poetry, prose and letters. Ultimately a portrait of a young country through a young man, the documentary also features rarely seen footage of the 1967 war and the Entebbe raid itself, as covered by American news legend Walter Cronkite.

Laura Rodman, president of The Merrimack Valley Jewish Federation said that she found herself not only choked up during the film, but became a bit emotional just talking about it afterwards with The Valley Patriot.

“I first saw the rough cut last November and I’m all choked up now the way I was then,” she said.

“The fact that they were able to use all that footage, both the personal footage and the war scenes, everything about it was so authentic it has to move anyone who sees it.”

Rodman, lives in Nashua NH and originally hails from Brooklyn NY, and is in her first year as president of the organization. She said she saw “Follow Me” at the General Assembly of the Federation of North American Jewish Federation convention last November and knew right away that the film needed to be showed in Merrimack Valley.

“It shows how a man in the army … of any army, can be so poetic and speak so beautifully and really have two different lives. It just blows my mind, that’s the only way I can put it.”

Laurie Tishler Mindlin, who has been the Executive Director of the Merrimack Valley Jewish Federation for five years, told The Valley Patriot that seeing the film is very important not only for Jews but for everyone.

“I thought it was very important to show this film now because I think that today people don’t have heroes. They don’t have people to look up to, to live up to, to learn about and to aspire to be like them. I think today people struggle with a passionate commitment to Israel. This film shows that.”

Mindlin said that the movie reflects a time when people came together and supported Israel and cared for the State of Israel .

“And what’s really no difference today is that people so urgently want to wipe Israel off the map. But there isn’t the support for Israel today that there used to be. That is why it was important to show it now.”

Mindlin said she also saw the rough cut of the movie last November with Laura Rodman and added, “I previewed it again a few days ago I thought it was very moving, very moving.”

“This film was very well put together,” she continued. “This was years and years of going through footage, hours and hours of film to edit.”

“Next month it’s in a couple of festivals across the country and then after that it will be opening in New York, Los Angeles, Toronto and southern Florida. Depending on how that goes it will be opening in other smaller communities. I think Boston is a second tier community but we expect it will be shown there later this year.”

Mindlin said that even though “Follow Me” is a Jewish story “I think a lot of non-Jewish people will want to come and see this. It is universal though, everyone who sees this will benefit from it.”

With more than 150 people turning out for the festival, Mindlin said that she was very happy with the turnout. “We would always like to have more people,” she said. “But I am very happy that so many came out to see this.”

“The Jewish federation provides a variety of experiences throughout the world and various different people from different backgrounds might come to a Jewish film festival that might come to a family concert and so we are happy to provide something for all aspects of the community.”

Colonel Sam Poulten, owner of WCAP radio and a resident of Chelmsford was also on hand for the festival and spoke to the audience prior to the movie presentation.

On stage he recounted how he was in Israel with Yoni one day when Yoni tried to convince him to move to Israel.

“We were walking about 4AM, he was in the lead as he always was, and we were with another Israeli soldier at the time. He said ‘look at what is going on in the United States how can you live in a country that is so violent and has so much racial unrest?” The audience burst into laughter. “Then he stopped and told us to ‘only step where I step and only move where I move.” When I asked him why he said “explosives”. The audience roared with laughter again.

Poulten recounted how Yoni was his inspiration to join the US Army and added “what I learned from Yoni is that if I didn’t do it, someone else was going to have to. And if everybody does a little bit, nobody has to do a lot.”

Poulten said in 1976 he and his wife Gail were celebrating the bicentennial “when the news came to us in our hotel room about the raid on Entebbe and we were elated like everyone else was. The news said there was only one fatality and we were celebrating such a great victory… until we learned that the one was Yoni.”

The festival also featured a comedic film by Yisrael Campbell, a Philadelphia born Catholic who converted to Judaism.
For more information on the Merrimack Valley Jewish Federation you can visit them on-line at:

Tom Duggan, Publisher The Valley Patriot

Tom Duggan


Tom Duggan is publisher of Valley Patriot, Inc., a former Lawrence School Committeeman, former political director for Mass Citizens Alliance, a Police Survivor and hosts the Paying Attention! Radio Program from 10-noon on WCAP every Saturday. You can email him at

You can call our tip-line if you have information about Sheriff Frank Cousins or corruption in the
Essex County Sheriff’s Department at (978) 683-3952

A ll pictures and written material are (C) Copyright, Tom Duggan & Valley Patriot, Inc., 2012, All rights reserved


All pictures and written material are (C) Copyright, Tom Duggan & Valley Patriot, Inc., 2012, All rights reserved

Tom Duggan

Tom Duggan

Tom Duggan is president and publisher of The Valley Patriot Newspaper in North Andover, Massachusetts. He is an author, host of the Paying Attention TV/Radio Program, lectures on media bias and police issues, is a former Lawrence School Committeeman, former political director for Mass. Citizens Alliance, and a 1990 Police Survivor. You can email your comments to

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3 Responses to Jewish Film Festival Shows Movie Tribute to Yoni Netanyahu

  1. Tom Duggan

    Tom Duggan Reply

    August 21, 2012 at 10:00 AM


    Looked much better on m iPhone. What I would like is for each page to LOOK like a newspaper page with teh torn edges on teh side if that is posible. and the photos to be text wrapped if possible but this is a good starting point. I assume we are going to ad the advertising as we go. Lets chat later.

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  3. LeAnn McDonald Reply

    January 7, 2015 at 7:47 PM

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    their friend “Mr. Kutchie Pelaez” and their wild and crazy exploits of

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    Movies. “The Tales From Kutcharitaville”, I Think That They May Still Be
    Available In A Boxed Set. Maybe Try Amazon. Good Luck With That….

    You Know, It’s No Wonder That Everyone Calls “Captain Kutchie
    Pelaez”..The Most Interesting Man In The World! Did You Know That
    Kutchie Drinks Those Wonderful Mixed Drinks Named In His Honor Called

    There A Hell Of A Lot Better Than Any Mexican Beers. And Much Stronger
    To Boot!…You Could Almost Hear The Song Now…”Wasting Away Again In
    Kutcharitaville”.!…What Do Ya Think? Not Bad Ahh!…

    ….That Sunken Ship In The News These Days,

    ….It’s Been Resting Down On The Bottom Of The Sea Since Way Back In
    1857, “Mel Fisher” Even Overlooked That One!… “Yankee Jack Pittorino”
    and “Micheal McCloud” Now Have Reason To Write Another
    Song…(Hint-Hint-Hint) “Jack” Listen-Up Here!

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    Little Over A Few Months Now! Could It Be Because The Jet Had No Silver and Gold Aboard, Just People?….Go Figure……

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    Lime Pie Shops”)..Are All Showing Increasing Pie Sales Throughout All
    They’re Areas Of Distribution. Consumers Just Never Seem To Reach
    They’re Fill Of Those “Yummy Key Lime Pies” That The “Peleaz’s Working
    Partner Team” Continues To Produce. They Have Been Called “Love At First

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    In The Early 70?s.

    ….Eli Wallach, Be Careful, Don’t Eat The “Cannoli’s”!…They’re Killer Man!….

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    Frankie Valli, Terry Levi, Joe Pesci, Bob Gaudio, Bob Crewe, Paul
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    Seventies! ….Sounds Like A Love Story To Us!

    ….A Very Good Yarn! “You” “You’re Good You”….

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    To Say The Least!….

    ….His Drop Dead Gorgeous Wife “Anita”

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    ….Also Add “The Two Yutes”….”What’s A Yute”? You Might Ask. Just Ask “Yankee Jack”…..


    Lasts Forever and Ever, Two People Become One! A Covenant Between A
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    ….Who Dat, Dat Say “Who Dat” Every Time Dat I Say Who Dat, “Who Dat”?….

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    Grease-Ball Goombahs Are Out To Steal Everyone’s Grease! The
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    Everyone Says They Are. The Proof Is In The Pudding, They’re That Damn

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    that’s a go!….ok….go…….please go away now!……go to your room now!….well

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    ….i can’t believe that you are still reading this! you believe that?

    ….i can’t believe that we ate that whole key lime pie!…

    “Rooms To Go” did good, maybe the “Pelaez’s” should change their name to
    “Key Lime Pies To Go”, Yeah-What Do You-All Think? Is That A

    Go?……go to your room now!….BYE!….

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    ….”Captain Kutchie To The Rescue”, I Bet the Captain doesn’t give a rats ass about some Mexican lime shortage, why would he? He is AMERICA’S HERO! When it comes to “Key Lime Pies!”

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