Operation Babylon Essay example

Operation Babylon Essay example

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Operation Babylon is the story of Shlomo Hillel and his efforts to get Jews from Iraq into Israel. Jews came under increasing duress in Iraq during the time he was active for several reasons. The first is that the British, who had significant influence in the country, were trying to negotiate a new contract with the Iraqi government which would continue their state of significant influence. There was much anger about this within the Iraqi populous and the government worked, sucessfully, to turn that anger against the Jews. The second reason, is that as Israel attained nationhood, hostilities increased against the Jews of Iraq. Zionism and Judaism were looked at as the same thing even when they were clearly not. Hillel worked as a member of the Mossad and found many creative ways to get the Jews safely into Israel, even against great obstacles as diverse as being arrested and convoys toppling in sandstorms.
The smuggling of the Jews of Iraq started by organizing convoys of Jews into Israel with the “Lords of the Desert” but this group proved unreliable. Palestine got caught up in Arab/Jewish violence which distracted from the immigration efforts and Hillel became very frustrated with the Mossad as they almost completely stopped bringing more Jews in. The Jews of Iraq are forced to pay independent smugglers to bring them in, who charge large sums and were often unreliable. Hillel started bringing Jews in via the airport in Tel Aviv. These operations were quite successful, though they did run into trouble occasionally since the airport was run by the British who were under strict orders not to let any Jews in. It was also difficult to get the Jews from the airport into Tel Aviv because the roads were very dangerous.
In Iraq the ...


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...uch about the politics of the area and that he was traveling with a completely clueless partner. It highlights the lack of resources that both the Mossad, and Israel as a whole had at the time, and it serves as a testament to what they were able to do with so little.
Much as Israel was able to overcome the odds and establish itself as a country, Operation Babylon is an inspiring tale about the completion of a noble cause. While others were distracted with “more important” issues, Hillel showed the spotlight brightly on the plight of the Iraqi Jews. Others certainly played an important role in rescuing them, and Hillel could definitely not have done it alone, but his determination is worthy of praise. He undoubtedly saved countless lives. His work is even more impressive looking back, since when the Ba'ath Party took over they tried to kill the Jews of the country.

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