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ON THIS DAY in 1950, the first flight taking Jews from in Iraq to Israel in Operation Ezra and Nehemiah departed from Baghdad.
At precisely 2:00pm on Friday, 19th May, 1950, a Skymaster jet carrying 86 Jewish refugees immigrants, accompanied by an Iraqi police officer, took off for Nicosia in Cyprus. This was the first flight of Operation Ezra and Nehemiah.
The operation was named after the Jewish leaders who took their people back to Jerusalem from exile in Babylonia, beginning in 597 BCE.
The plane landed at 3:30 precisely, and after a brief stop, turned around and flew back East to Israel, arriving at 6pm. Shortly thereafter, another plane landed carrying a further 89 Jewish passengers.
That May, the first month of the operation, 614 Jews arrived in Israel on six separate slights from Baghdad.

Over the course of campaign over 120,000 Iraqi Jews were airlifted to Israel. Another 20,000 were smuggled out through Iran.
According to some estimates, the possessions of the Jewish immigrants who were expelled from Iraq, which they were forced to leave behind, is valued to be worth about $290,000,000 today. The properties were confiscated by the Iraqi government.
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