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Statements by President Herzog and Prime Minister Shamir on the Conclusion of Operation Solomon

(May 25, 1991)

Operation Solomon was the code name given to the rescue of the remnant of Ethiopian Jews by flying some 14,500 of them to Israel in less than 36 hours. 40 flights were undertaken with the approval of the outgoing Mengistu regime, the approval of the Ethiopian rebels who overthrew Mengistu and the assistance of the United States. The operation was conducted by the IDF, the Israel Air Force, EPAI, and masterminded by the Jewish Agency and other Israel government agencies. Upon its conclusion, the president and the prime minister issued the following statements:

President Herzog's Statement

The remainder of Ethiopian Jewry has been brought to Israel in a complex airlift rescue campaign - carried out in the dead of the night and concluded a mere few hours ago - which will be engraved in the history of contemporary Zionism. This small community, whose years of exile are as long as the suffering of the exile of the Jewish people, has been brought to secure shores: entire villages, women, the elderly and children.

Before our eyes, we witnessed the realisation of the loftiest mission of Zionism and of the sacred goal for which the Jewish State was established.

The finest forces were harnessed for this daring operation and, to them, I extend our praise and gratitude. To the new immigrants, we extend an adoptive hand and we welcome them. May their speedy absorption heal their suffering and bring an end to their wandering.

Prime Minister Shamir's Statement

The evacuation to Israel of the remainder of Ethiopian Jewry was concluded today within the framework of "Operation Solomon". With this, another glorious chapter in the history of immigration to Israel has ended.

Since yesterday morning (Friday), an airlift from Addis Ababa to Israel was set in motion. The airlift brought about 15,000 immigrants in about 40 direct flights. The operation was undertaken with the approval of the Ethiopian authorities and with their active assistance. Among other things, planes belonging to the Ethiopian national airline transported some of the immigrants. The IDF was charged with coordinating and operating the airlift. Planes belonging to El AL were also used. Israel expresses its gratitude to the government of the United States for its assistance in "Operation Solomon" and it extends special thanks to U.S. President George Bush for his assistance over the past few years in the rescue of Ethiopian Jewry.

Government and Public elements - including the IDF, the Foreign Ministry, the Defense Ministry and the Jewish Agency - participated in "Operation Solomon" and contributed to its successful conclusion today at 16:30.

Source: Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs