Operation Solomon: The Daring Rescue of the Ethiopian Jews
“Operation Solomon” was one of the most remarkable rescue efforts in modern history, in which more than 14,000 Ethiopian Jews were airlifted to Israel in little more than a day. Now, in this riveting volume, Stephen Spector offers the definitive account of this incredible story, based on over 200 interviews and exclusive access to confidential documents. Written with the pace and immediacy of a novel, here is the dramatic story of the rescue of the dark-skinned Jews of Ethiopia. Spector recounts how 20,000 Jews were willingly lured from their ancestral villages to Addis Ababa, expecting to be taken quickly from there to the Holy Land. Instead, they became pawns in a struggle between the Israeli government and Ethiopia’s repressive dictator, who tried to coerce Israel to sell him weapons he needed in a losing war against rebel armies. In the resulting stalemate, the Jewish community was forced to live for nearly a year in squalid hovels, vulnerable to the dangers of the city, including crime and HIV. Worse yet, the imminent collapse of Addis Ababa, with the rebels closing in on the capital, raised the threat of bloody street fighting or even a genocidal attack on the Jews, a small minority in a nation that is primarily Christian and Moslem. Spector describes the tense negotiations among Israelis, Ethiopians, and Americans, which became increasingly urgent as time ran low and the danger mounted. And he highlights the secret deals and sudden setbacks that nearly aborted the mission at the eleventh hour, even as Israeli jets sat on the runway in Ethiopia, waiting to take the Jews to the land for which they had yearned for generations. Recounting the full story for the first time, Operation Solomon is a stirring account of a heroic rescue achieved in the face of daunting odds.