Operation Solomon: Miraculous Airlift of Ethiopian Jews
The Israel Forever Foundation
On May 24 and 25, 1991 an unprecedented airlift known as Operation Solomon transported over 14,325 Ethiopian Jews (almost the entire Jewish Ethiopian community) to Israel in 36 hours on 34 Israeli planes. In order to accommodate as many people as possible, airplanes were stripped of their seats and up to 1,200 passengers were boarded on a single plane.
The operation set a world record for single-flight passenger load on May 24, 1991 when an El Al 747 carried 1,122 passengers to Israel (1,087 passengers were registered, but dozens of children hid in their mothers' robes).
“Operation ‘Shlomo’ truly represented what Zionism is, and demonstrated the purpose of the State of Israel: providing a house and a shelter to Jews from all around the world who suffered and were persecuted merely for bearing the Jewish religion”, said the Air force commander at the time, Maj. Gen. Avihu Ben-Nun. “It was a great operation on a global scale: never before, did so few pilots transport such a great number of people in such a short time".