On This Day: The conclusion of Operation Magic Carpet

Some 380 flights carried the olim to Israel, prompted by a pogrom in the British Colony of Aden following the 1947 UN Partition Plan.

 YEMENITE JEWS are seen on a plane traveling to Lod airport as part of Operation Magic Carpet in 1949 (photo credit: TEDDY BRAUNER/GPO)
YEMENITE JEWS are seen on a plane traveling to Lod airport as part of Operation Magic Carpet in 1949
(photo credit: TEDDY BRAUNER/GPO)

On September 24, 1950, Operation Magic Carpet concluded with its final flights of two planes carrying 177 Yemenite Jews to Israel's Lod Airport. 

During this operation, also referred to as "Operation Kanfei Nesharim" - On the Wings of Eagles - nearly 50,000 Yemenite Jews were brought to Israel. The name refers to the passage in Exodus "...and I will transport you on eagles' wings and bring you to me..." 

The operation was done via a joint venture of the Israeli government, the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee, and the Jewish Agency.

It began in June of 1949 and ended on September 24, 1950. The original plan was to gradually bring roughly 20,000 people, but rumors regarding the operation spread quickly, speeding the operation. 

A family of Jewish immigrants from Yemen arrives at Lod Airport on the Operation Magic Carpet airlift, November 17, 1949 (credit: HANS PINN)A family of Jewish immigrants from Yemen arrives at Lod Airport on the Operation Magic Carpet airlift, November 17, 1949 (credit: HANS PINN)

Jews lived in hundreds of towns and villages throughout the country. Thousands traveled towards Aden, today the capital of Yemen, with some walking as many as three weeks to complete the journey. 

Some 380 flights carried the olim to Israel, prompted by a pogrom in the British Colony of Aden following the 1947 UN Partition Plan. This led to the deaths of at least 82 Jews and destroyed several Jewish homes. 

Upon arrival, the Yemenite Jews were sent to tent camps and then moved to agricultural villages across the country. 

Several thousand Jews remained in Yemen, but most left throughout the following years. Today, the majority of Yemenite Jews live in Israel. 

According to reports, roughly 13 Jews remain in Yemen