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Magic Carpet Operation


Airlift of Jews to the new State of Israel from the southern Arabian Peninsula.

Operation Magic Carpet was the popular name given to Operation on Wings of Eagles, the airlift that, between 16 December 1948 and 24 September 1950, brought most of the ancient Jewish communities of the southern Arabian peninsula to the new State of Israel. The evacuees included about 43,000 Yemenites, more than 3,000 Adenis, and nearly 1,000 Habbanis (from Hadramawt).

This dramatic operation was run by the Jewish Agency with assistance from the American Joint Distribution Committee. The planes for the airlift came from a specially formed U.S. charter airline, the Near East Air Transport Company. During the height of this exodus, in the fall of 1949, as many as eleven planes flying around the clock carried people from the departure point in the British protectorate of Aden to Lod Airport in Israel. Many of the Yemenite refugees trekked hundreds of miles over rough terrain, in many cases entirely on foot, to reach the Hashid transit camp in Aden to await evacuation.

see also hadramawt; jewish agency for palestine.


Ahroni, Reuben. Jewish Emigration from the Yemen, 195198: Carpet without Magic. Richmond, U.K.: Curzon, 2001.

Barer, Shlomo. The Magic Carpet. New York: Harper, 1952.

Parfitt, Tudor. The Road to Redemption: The Jews of the Yemen, 19001950. Leiden, Netherlands, and New York: Brill, 1996.

norman stillman

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