Towards the end of May 1991, with famine and revolution at the doorstep of Ethiopia’s capital, the IAF airlifted nearly 15,000 men, women, and children in 41 sorties. Less than 24 hours separated the first takeoff from the last.
IAF Boeing 707’s and Hercules C-130’s flew a total of 30 missions. El Al placed 10 of its cavernous carriers under IAF control. Each of the national airline’s wide-bodied aircraft seemed to swallow a sea of immigrants, speeding their return to Zion. IAF Commander Maj. Gen. Avihu Ben-Nun remarked that “the operation demonstrated that the air force can not only bomb, but perform humanitarian missions as well”.