Operation Magic Carpet

Jews arrive in Israel after being evacuated from their home countries
Jews arrive in Israel after being evacuated from their home countries

Historical Context

Between 1948 and 1950, some 49,000 Jews living in Yemen, as well as some from Djibouti, Eritrea and Saudi Arabia, were transported from their home countries to the newly founded state of Israel. This was part of a process known as aaliyah, which is the immigration of Jewish diaspora to the Land of Israel.

There were a number of other reasons for the exodus, including hostility in Yemen, economic crisis, famine and persecution, as well as a sense of religious duty in going to Israel. As rumors spread among the Jewish population that Israel would be airlifting Jews out of the country, many thousands journeyed to the port city of Aden, some walking for weeks on foot through the desert.

The operation concluded by late 1950. In 2013, only about 250 Jews still lived in Yemen. Part of the requirement of leaving was to sell your house and possessions before moving to Israel. Once a Yemeni Jew had left Yemen, they were forbidden from returning, making communication with any remaining family members difficult.

Photo Info


Photographer: Fritz Cohen
Date taken: August 26, 1950
Location taken: Israel

Source: Wikimedia Commons

Related Events

  • 1950-09-24 Operation Magic Carpet concludes after having transported 45,000 Yemenite Jews to Israel

Historical Photos