Operation Solomon: The Daring Rescue of the Ethiopian Jews

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Oxford University Press, Mar 15, 2005 - History - 320 pages
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"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. 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 into selling 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 Muslim. 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.
 

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Contents

From King Solomon to Operation Solomon History Faith and the Ethiopian Aliyah
1
Restoring Diplomatic RelationsConceiving the Aliyah July 1988January 1990
19
The AAEJ Accelerates the Process FebruaryApril 1990
31
A Potential Catastrophe MayJune 1990
45
EggsUri LubraniCluster Bombs JulyOctober 1990
63
Carrots Not CaratsThe Kitchen Cabinet NovemberDecember 1990
73
The Doomsday ScenarioThe Falash Mura JanuaryFebruary 1991
83
Mengistus ChestnutsThe Ante March 1991
93
The Wings of History Thursday May 23 1991
140
Operation Solomon 400 am300 pm Friday May 24 1991
148
Operation Solomon Continued 300 pm Friday May 24300 pm Saturday May 25 1991
161
Epilogue
181
APPENDIX 1 Annual Emigration from Addis Ababa to Israel
197
APPENDIX 2 The Number of People Brought to Israel in Operation Solomon
199
APPENDIX 3 A Conversation with Kassa Kebede
201
Notes
205

Taking the Chips AwayThe Cordon SanitaireRudy Boschwitz April 118 1991
101
The Boschwitz MissionSetting the Price April 2429 1991
110
Playing Poker with Sechel May 119 1991
123
The Final Week Mengistus FlightClosing the Deal Monday May 20Wednesday May 22 1991
131
Glossary of Names and Terms
243
Bibliography
251
Index
269
Copyright

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About the author (2005)

Stephen Spector completed his Ph.D. at Yale and is Professor of English at Stony Brook University. He has written or edited seven books and has received numerous prizes, fellowships, and grants. Since 1973 he has taught a course on the English Language, focusing on making grammar and usage fun.

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