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on  25/08/2017 
The 70th anniversary of Operation Michaelberg

​A special ceremony was held on Wednesday evening at the detention camp at Atlit, where British authorities detained Jews seeking to enter the country before Israel's independence. The ceremony marked the 70th anniversary of Operation Michaelberg, the clandestine effort in 1947 named after two courageous American Jewish pilots who airlifted Jews from Iraq and elsewhere into the country despite the British policy seeking to bar the immigrants from entering.

On the occasion of this historic anniversary, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu issued the following message of greetings to those gathered for the ceremony at Atlit:
Jerusalem, 29 Av 5777
21 August 2017

Greetings from the Prime Minister on the occasion of the 70th anniversary of Operation Michaelberg:

Dear Friends,
I greet you on the occasion of the special event at the immigrant detention camp at Atlit marking the 70th anniversary of the aerial operation that brought immigrants from Iraq to the Land of Israel – Operation Michaelberg.
The movement to bring immigrants to the country in the period before our independence is an important and significant chapter in the history of the Zionist enterprise. Massive numbers of Jews from communities scattered throughout the world made their way to Zion – by land and particularly by sea – with the goal of breaking through the borders that had been closed by a foreign authority. Thousands were apprehended and expelled from the country, but many others realized their aspiration to put down roots in the homeland and to contribute to the building of the national home.

In addition to the other means that had been used to get the immigrants into the country, in 1947, an aerial operation from Iraq – as well as Italy -- was carried out at the initiative of the Haganah’s Mossad Le’aliyah Bet. About a hundred Jews were brought to the Land of Israel in cooperation with Zionist circles in Iraq, landing at Yavniel and taken in by communities in the area. The daring operation required thorough planning and precise execution, and it was named after the American pilots who flew the C-46 – Michael and Sanberg.

Operation Michaelberg demonstrated the importance of an aerial force for the Jewish community in the country. The daring act paved the way to bring essential arms by air during the War of Independence and later also in bringing Jews to Israel in the mass immigration from Muslim countries. All of these are a essential heritage that should be bestowed upon this generation and generations to come.
A central role in organizing Operation Michaelberg was played by Shlomo Hillel – a multi-faceted personality who will forever be associated with the reestablishment of Israel. Dear Shlomo, you served for decades as a Knesset member, as Speaker of the Knesset and as a cabinet minister and in addition, you served in a variety of positions in our foreign service. You now serve as president of the Society for the Preservation of Israel Heritage Sites, which is initiating the event commemorating the operation. I warmly congratulate you and wish you many more years of fruitful accomplishments.
I convey my appreciation to you all, and to your future success.

Benjamin Netanyahu



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