What Was Operation Magic Carpet?

Over 49,000 Yemenite Jews were transported to Israel as part of Operation on Wings-of-Eagles, often called Operation Magic Carpet.

From mid-1949 until September 1950, the operation was conducted. A sizeable portion of the Yemenite Jews (2,000 from Yemen, 500 from Eritrea and Djibouti, 2,000 from Saudi Arabia, and 1,500 from Aden) were transported to Israel during the operation.

Over 380 covert flights from Aden to Israel were conducted by many American and British aircraft. A few months after the excursions were over, they were made public. Operation Messiah’s Coming is another name for Operation Magic Carpet.

The Initiative

The operation signaled the start of the Jewish exodus from several Arab countries. Israel saw the whole undertaking as a successful effort to free the oppressed Jews of Yemen.

Three streets in Israel are now known as Kanfei-Nesharim, or the Wings-of-Eagles, in recognition of this initiative. These streets may be found in Jerusalem, Ramat Gan, Herzliya, and Kerem Ha Teimanim.

The program’s formal name was derived from two biblical verses (Isaiah 40:31 and Exodus 19:4).

Motives Behind The Exodus

The conflict between the Imam of Yemen and Israel was the reason for the evacuation. Muslims started targeting many Jewish settlements in Aden after the 1947 United Nations Partition Plan, which led to the deaths of roughly 82 Jews.

1948 saw further anti-Jewish violence when Jews were charged with the murder of two Muslim girls.

Meir-Glitzenstein Esther claims that the main reason for this operation was the conflict between Ahmad bin Yahya and Israel.

They both benefited from the confiscatory taxes that Ahmad bin Yahya imposed on the Jews. Tudor Parfitt and Reuven Ahroni contend that the Yemeni Jews’ departure, which began before 1948, was also influenced by economic factors.


Meir-Glitzenstein Esther denounced Israel and the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee for leaving numerous Jews on the Aden-Yemen border, and many other individuals opposed the whole operation.

While en route to the departure sites, about 850 Yemeni Jews perished. Although higher than that of the Jewish communities in Yemen, the infant mortality rate was high among the Jewish communities that immigrated to Israel.

According to Ben-Gurion David’s journal, the youngsters in the transit camps were passing away at an alarmingly high rate. They were whisked away from their parents to be treated in hospitals, where they were later informed over loudspeakers that they had died.

Many Jews believed that the state was abducting healthy infants for adoption and then informing their parents they had died since the high newborn mortality rate. Yaacov Lozowick explained the missing children rumor in 2019.

He said that the high newborn death rate was highly concerning; consequently, several of the children’s corpses underwent autopsies. The parents kept it a secret since autopsies were prohibited under Jewish law.

Current Situation

In 1959, over 3,000 Jews left Aden for Israel, while others went to the United Kingdom and the United States. The 1962 North Yemen Civil War put an end to emigration. In 2013, Yemen was home to around 250 Jews.

The 2008 murder of Ya’ish Moshe horrified the Jews of Raydah. Abdul Aziz, who approached and urged him to convert to Islam, murdered him.

Amnesty International urged the Yemeni government to protect the Jews residing there after other Jews received phone threats and hate mail. During the Gaza War, several Jewish communities came under assault.

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