Operation Yachin

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Operation Yachin was an operation to secretly emigrate Moroccan Jews to Israel, conducted by Israel's Mossad between November 1961 and spring 1964. About 80,000 left for Israel by plane and ship from Casablanca and Tangier via France and Italy.

Etymology[edit]

The operation's name Yachin was of Biblical origin- being the name of one of the two central pillars that supported the Holy Temple built in Jerusalem by King Solomon, and since Israel regarded immigration as a major pillar that supported the existence of the Jewish state.[1]

Background[edit]

The Jewish community of Morocco spans for nearly 2,000 years. It became an important Jewish center with the expulsion of Jews from Spain and later Portugal, and continued to be such until the founding of Israel in 1948. The severe pogroms which took place in Oujda and Jerada, together with a wave of similar events across the Arab World, was a major catalyst to initiate the immigration of Moroccan Jewry. Yet, despite singular events of violence, the Moroccan Jews were perhaps the most protected Jewish community across the Arab World. Many hesitated to trade their comfortable lives and good businesses for an uncertain future across the seas, with only Israel and France being willing to accept them.

The migration swelled by the early 1950s, until an official ban was issued by the Moroccan government. Nevertheless, an illegal immigration continued. On 10 January 1961 a small boat called "Egoz" carrying 44 Jewish emigrants sank on the northern coast of Morocco.[2] This created a major stress both in the Moroccan authorities and the Zionist institutions, responsible for the illegal immigration activities.

Operation[edit]

Operation Yachin was an organized operation to secretly emigrate Moroccan Jews to Israel, conducted by Israel's Mossad between November 1961 and spring 1964. About 80,000 left for Israel by plane and ship from Casablanca and Tangier via France and Italy. The operation also received important help from Francoist Spain.[3] However, some Jews settled in France, Canada and the United States instead of in Israel. Morocco received "indemnities" for the loss of the Jews.[4]

Notable people[edit]

Ya'akov Margi was brought to Israel during Operation Yachin in 1962.

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Every spy a prince: the complete history of Israel's intelligence community, by Daniel Raviv, Yossi Melman, p.111.
  2. ^ "King Hassan II: Morocco's messenger of peace", by Megan Melissa Cross, pp.66-67.
  3. ^ "In the shadow of the Holocaust and the Inquisition: Israel's relations with Francoist Spain", by Raanan Rein, p.197.
  4. ^ "The Jews of the Middle East and North Africa in modern times", by Reeva S. Simon, Michael M. Laskier, Sara Reguer, p.502.

Further reading[edit]

  • "North African Jewry in the twentieth century: the Jews of Morocco, Tunisia, and Algeria", by Michael M. Laskier, Chapter 7: The Israeli-Directed Self-Defense Underground and "Operation Yachin".