Join The Conversation With Mishpacha's Weekly Newsletter



Operation Solomon: Four Voices

Aharon Granevich-Granot

Not too many people are familiar with the story behind an old jumbo jet housed in the Air Force Museum located at Chatzerim. But just recently, Mishpacha brought together four people for whom the plane aroused strong memories — Rabbi Mazor Buhaina,Binyamin Noga, Shlomi Assras, and Lt. Col. Micky Katz. What connected them to each other and the plane was an event that took place in May 1991, the rescue of 14,000 Ethiopian Jews that became known as Operation Solomon.

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

airplaneFour people walk towards the jumbo jet now housed at theIsraeliAirForceMuseumin Chatzerim. Although three of them were born inEthiopiaand one is a native Israeli, they share a historical bond, both with each other and the jet sitting in the hangar. They were all participants in a rescue mission called Operation Solomon, a modern-day footnote to Avraham Avinu’s historic trek from the place of his birth to the land of his destiny.

 

Operation Solomon was a sequel to the dramatic Operation Moses of 1984, which transported members ofEthiopia’s BetaIsraeltribe toIsraelviaSudan. Due to a media leak, the operation was not fully successful, and tens of thousands of Jews were left behind. In 1991, those Jews faced persecution and danger when rebel forces threatened the government, and an international effort was launched to rescue them. That effort resulted in Operation Solomon in May of 1991 and the transport of thousands of Ethiopian Jews toIsrael.

 

Rabbi Mazor Buhaina, who has served as a Knesset Member for Shas and now lives in Beer Sheva, was an avreich learning in Yeshivas Porat Yosef back in May 1991, having come toIsrael at an earlier time. But as an Ethiopian-born Jew who’d already acclimated toIsrael, he played a role in Operation Solomon by helping some of the new arrivals find both a physical and a spiritual home. 

 

Reb Binyamin Noga of Ashkelon and Reb Shlomo Assras of Kiryat Malachi were only children when they boarded an airplane for the first time. In Israel, they found their way to the chareidi community and became kollel avreichim who are now studying to be rabbis.

 

Lt. Col. Micky Katz, a veteran Israeli Air Force pilot who was born and raised inIsrael, is currently a senior captain with El Al. In 1991 he was in charge of El Al’s operations department. He was also a key player in the rescue mission, and the one who “turned out the lights,” so to speak.

 

For each of them, the sight of that 20-year-old jet brings back memories. After crawling into the plane’s belly and taking a look around at the cavernous space, the memories get even stronger. They each have a story to tell, a perspective that sheds new light on a mission that was considered daring even for the Israeli Air Force, which has had no shortage of “mission impossibles” during its history.

 

To read the rest of this story, please buy this issue of Mishpacha or sign up for a weekly subscription.

Share this page with a friend. Fill in the information below, and we'll email your friend a link to this page on your behalf.

Your name
Your email address
You friend's name
Your friend's email address
Please type the characters you see in the image into the box provided.
CAPTCHA
Message


MM217
 
Weekly Struggle
Shoshana Friedman Cover text: promise big and deliver what we promise
Only Through You
Rabbi Moshe Grylak A response to last week’s letter, “Waiting in Passaic”
Are You Making a Kiddush Hashem?
Yonoson Rosenblum In communal affairs, “one bad apple…” often applies
Chance of a Lifetime
Eytan Kobre I identify with the urge to shout, “No, don’t do it!”
Work / Life Solutions with Bunim Laskin
Moe Mernick "You only get every day once"
Seeking a Truly Meaningful Blessing
Dovid Zaidman We want to get married. Help us want to date
Shivah Meditations
Rabbi Emanuel Feldman Equivalence between two such polar opposites is puzzling
Magnet Moment
Jacob L. Freedman Everyone’s fighting a battle we know nothing about
Secrets and Surprises
Riki Goldstein Top-secret suits Eli Gerstner just fine
Blasts of Warmth
Riki Goldstein Keeping the chuppah music upbeat in low temperatures
Behind the Scenes
Faigy Peritzman The intrinsic value of each mitzvah
Good Vision
Sarah Chana Radcliffe Good or bad, nice or not? What you see is what you get
Day of Peace
Mrs. Elana Moskowitz On Shabbos we celebrate peace within and without