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Sunday, July 27, 2003

Help from Zion: Israel rescues six elderly Jews from Iraq

Only 28 Jews remain in Baghdad
Story in the Jerusalem Post:
In a secret humanitarian rescue mission dubbed "Ezra Mizion" (Help from Zion), six elderly Jews were flown from Baghdad via Amman to Israel on Friday by the Jewish Agency, the Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society (HIAS), and the Prime Minister's Office.

After landing at Ben-Gurion Airport in a Jewish Agency-chartered 40-seat aircraft, the six former refugees were taken to a hotel in Yehud. Naima Haleli, 99, suffering from exhaustion, was first taken to the hospital.

The five other evacuees are Ezra Levy, 75; Salima Shemesh, 75, originally from Basra; Sasson Salach Abdul, 90, an employee of the Iraqi Railway Authority until he was fired in 1951 for being Jewish; Haleli's daughter Hatoun Dayan, 70; and Meir Yehezkel Shabad, 46.

The operation began on July 11, when a three-person task force of Jewish Agency and HIAS staffers entered Iraq, still a very volatile environment. Among them was Shlomo Giraffi, who has "been in other places in the Arab world rescuing Jews," as Yarden Vatikay, a senior Jewish Agency spokesperson put it.

The team established contact with the Jewish community and gave residents a few days to decide whether they wished to leave on this flight. While in Iraq, the team was granted security protection by the United States government.
How long do you think it will be before they're rescuing Jews from Boulder, Colorado?