23 Adar 5778
10 March 2018
Picture of the Day:
How surprising was the above scene? Constantly beset by a malicious media here in Israel, it must have been heartwarming for the Netanyahus to be greeted by supporters for a change. It prompted Bibi to say: “How good to be home. Thank you for the warm welcome–and thank you for your tremendous support!”
Atrocious Quote of the Day:
“Maybe they are not even Russians but Ukrainians, Tatars or Jews but with Russian citizenship, which should also be checked; maybe they have dual citizenship of a green card; maybe the US paid them for this. How can you know that? I do not know either.”
Russian President Vladimir Putin in an interview on American NBC News, discussing who meddled in the 2016 U.S. elections.
Ukrainians, Tartars or Jews. The scum of the earth according to Putin. As Putin sees it, none of these groups contain loyal Russians–they all have dual loyalties and could have been paid off by the U.S.
The News on the Israel Street
Netanyahu returns to a maelstrom . . .
In a few hours at the end of Shabbat, PM Netanyahu will try to keep his Coalition together through a series of meetings with the ultra-orthodox, Moshe Kahlon of Kulanu, and Avigdor Lieberman of Yisrael Beiteinu.
At the moment, it appears that Lieberman is the main obstacle to reaching a compromise–and there are rumors floating around today that Netanyahu is on the verge of replacing Lieberman as Minister of Defense with Naftali Bennett.
That speculation is of course part of the pressure that Netanyahu is putting on Lieberman to climb down out of his tree.
Much should be known by tomorrow morning about the fate of the current government.
“Maybe we’ll fly together soon.”
It was one of the most glorious episodes in the history of Israel.
Operation “On Wings of Eagles” (Kanfei Nesharim)–also known as Operation Magic Carpet–took place between June 1949 and September 1950.
During this period, 47,000 Yemeni Jews, 2000 Saudi Arabian Jews, 1500 Jews from Aden, and 500 Djiboutian and Eritrean Jews were brought to Israel in a secret operation involving 380 flights.
Yesterday, Elgen Long, the last surviving aviator of Operation Wings of Eagles came back to Israel for the first time in more than 65 years.
Back in 1949, Long–a veteran of the U.S. Navy–was a navigator for Alaska Airlines when he volunteered for the rescue mission.
He was asked to do so by the CEO of Alaska Airlines who agreed to transport the Jews to Israel over the objections of his Board of Directors. None of the Alaska Airlines crew members were Jewish.
Yesterday, Long recounted for YNet News* the situation back then:
“We were in Tel Aviv when we received the order to fly to Aden. When we got there, we found out that 2,000 Jews who had come to Aden after crossing the desert were in the area, they were in distress, there were no facilities for them, it was difficult to protect them, they died from various diseases. There they asked how much we could take with us, each weighed a little more than 40 kilograms, they had no luggage – so we could fly about 150 of them and we would still have enough fuel to get to Tel Aviv. “
“Each weighed a little more than 40 kilograms.”
“Because they were in mortal danger, we flew nonstop on Saturdays, we did not submit a flight plan, we did not tell anyone we were going, everything was secret, nothing was in the newspapers or on the radio, we just flew through the Red Sea so no one could spot us. When we arrived at what we called Umm Rashrash [now Eilat], we turned and headed for Beersheba, and from Be’er Sheva we could make our way to Tel Aviv.”
In Haifa yesterday, Long–who later became a pilot of 747s–paid tribute to his friend Wayne Peake:
“He’s actually the one who taught me to fly. He was a brave pilot, a captain who was a member of the Flying Tigers . . . he was nice and considerate enough to spend the time teaching me how to do it right. He taught me well, he did a great job, he was a good guide, and then we became friends and we shared a few beers together.”
As he left Peake’s grave site yesterday to return to his home in Nevada, the brave and heroic Long wiped away a tear and told his friend:
“Maybe we’ll fly together soon.”
*Israelstreet thanks YNet for the quotations used in today’s blog.