71 years ago this week, Israel concluded Operation On Wings of Eagles, better known as Operation Magic Carpet, one of its most complex and successful operations to date that saw the airlift of 49,000 Yemenite Jews to Israel from 1949 to 1950.
After the 1947 UN Partition Plan, Arab rioters launched a series of pogroms against the Jewish communities in Yemen, resulting in 82 dead and countless homes destroyed. Soon after, false accusations of the murder of two Muslim Yemenite girls led to another pogrom that resulted in the destruction and looting of many Jewish homes and stores.
In light of these events, the Jews of Yemen came to an agreement that they must leave Yemen and move to Israel, whereupon Operation Magic Carpet was launched. Over the course of a year and 380 flights, Israel carried out one of, if not the most, complex immigration operations in its history.
Eighty percent of Yemenite Jews were scattered throughout small villages, making it extremely difficult to gather everyone together. It was also calculated that the money needed to absorb all the immigrants was more than Israel could afford. Despite this, Israel successfully conducted the operation and absorbed the tens of thousands of Yemenite Jews.
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