Ethiopian Jews had fled to refugee camps in Sudan from a severe famine in their country. The Israeli Operation Moses had previously airlifted 8000 people to Israel from November 21, 1984, to January 5, 1985, but when word leaked out to the press, under pressure from other Muslim countries, Sudan blocked further flights, leaving many behind.
All 100 United States senators signed a secret petition to President Ronald Reagan, asking him to have the evacuation resumed. Vice President George H. W. Bush then arranged a follow-up mission called Operation Joshua. On March 22, 1985, six United States Air Force C-130 Hercules transport aircraft were dispatched, landing near Al Qadarif. "Around 500", "more than 500" or "around 650" Jews were located and transported to Uvda Airbase in southern Israel.
- Mitchell G. Bard, From Tragedy to Triumph: The Politics Behind the Rescue of Ethiopian Jewry, 2002, ISBN 978-0-275-97000-0, p. 161 - 170
- "1984-1991 Airlift of Ethiopian Jewish community". idfblog.com (official blog of the Israel Defense Forces).
- Ministry of Immigrant Absorption. "Operation Moses – Aliyah of Ethiopian Jewry (1984)".
- T. W. McGarry (March 26, 1985). "'Catalyst' for Ethiopian Airlift Disclosed : Robbins, Publisher Claim Valley-Spawned Plan Spurred U.S. to Action". Los Angeles Times.
- "Sharon Spent Two Years Thinking His Parents Had Died in Sudan". Jewish Telegraph.