Cuban pilots helped 150,000 Jews move to Israel in 1950s

October 18, 2010

Five Cuban pilots were responsible for flying 150,000 Jews from Iraq, Iran, India and Yemen to Israel in the 1950s, the French daily La Liberation reported on Monday.

According to the report, based on an interview the Cuban historian Rolando Marron gave to the Cuban daily Juventud Rebelde, the details of the operation have been kept secret for over 60 years until this past Sunday.

Marron said that among the Jews brought between 1951 and 1952, 115,000 refugees were from Iraq, 25,000 were from Iran, and several hundreds from Yemen and India, reports Israeli daily Haaretz.

“Since the Jews could not leave by land, and since transport by sea was difficult, the Israeli government organized one of the most important aerial mass migrations in history.”

According to the report, the reason for the Cuban involvement was the “strong friendship” between an “important official in the Israeli trade mission in New York and a Cuban businessman” who happened to be one of the pilots, the report said.



About the author

Born August 3, 1960 in Monastir, Tunisia
Media career:
  • ABC News (Tunisia)
  • Bahrain Tribune
  • Gulf News
  • Bahrain Television News
Teaching career:
  • Monastir (Tunisia)
  • University of Bahrain
  • MA  Mass Communications, University of Leicester
  • BA  in English & US literature and studies, University of Tunis

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