Israel: the first skyjacker

From the Financial Times, October 12, 1985:

"Curiously, given the country's unrelenting fight against "terrorism," the Israeli Government was responsible for the first forcible peacetime diversion of an aircraft, an operation described by President Eisenhower's Administration at the time as "without precedent" on international practice.

In December 1954 five members of the Israeli Defence Force were captured in Syrian territory wire-tapping the telephone network. The following day a Syrian civilian aircraft was intercepted by Israeli fighters after taking off from Damascus and forced to land at Lod airport where its passengers were held hostages under interrogation for 48 hours before they and the aircraft were released.

Mr Moshe Sharret, the then Prime Minister, was less than happy by the initiative taken by his free-wheeling Minister of Defence, Pinchas Lavon, and Chief of Staff, Mr Moshe Dayan, He observed they seemed "to presume that the state of Israel may -- even must -- behave in international relations according to the law of the jungle."