Prime Minister Sitiveni Rabuka has revealed that his wife Sulueti Rabuka was supposed to be part of the pilgrimage to Israel as well to celebrate the Feast of the Tabernacle.
Speaking during the Fiji Day Church Service in Sydney, Rabuka said extensive planning went on into the successful mission of repatriating the 200 Fijians that were trapped in Tel Aviv, after the Hamas Terrorist Group launched a series of attacks on the State of Israel.
The attacks forced the Israeli Government to declare war after 50 years.
Rabuka said while he was in New York, his family had informed him that his wife was preparing to go to Jerusalem; he however sent word back to his family for her not to be part of the group.
He said this was because he wanted his family to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the Yom Kippur War, between the Arab world and the Israeli in October 1973.
Rabuka said when he received word of what had happened, he commandeered a group of retired military officers to plan how to extract Fijian civilians who were now trapped in Israel.
He said that the Fiji Government sent one of the Fiji Airways plane to Hong Kong to wait further instructions while the Government tried to get the green light from the insurance company to fly into a hostile environment.
“We planned to make out the start line, the objective of the mission, and figure the shortest turnaround time to get the plane out after we’ve secured our people out of Israel.”
Rabuka added that this was the plan and they knew the speed of the plane, the range of the plane and where the plane could shelter if there was a need for our people to take cover.
He said last Wednesday; he personally welcomed each of those returning from Israel at the Nadi International Airport.