In 1977, Israel’s Mossad spy agency was given an assignment far different from its usual cloak and dagger activities. It was ordered by then Prime Minister Menachem Begin to rescue thousands of Ethiopian Jewish refugees in Sudan and “deliver them to me” in the Jewish state. No stranger to action in enemy countries, the agency established a covert forward base in a deserted holiday village in Sudan, and deployed a handful of operatives to launch and oversee the exodus of the refugees to the Promised Land, by sea and by air, in the early 1980s. Gad Shimron, the author of this book, was one of their number.
First published in Hebrew in 1998, this updated English version of the book offers a thrilling firsthand account of how the operation was put in place, and how the Mossad team in Sudan brought it off, despite great personal risk, running a partying vacation spot for wealthy tourists by day as they stole through the Sudanese desert to rescue desperate refugees by night. The book sheds light on American involvement in the latter stages of the operation, when the White House facilitated an airlift of Ethiopian Jews and the CIA station in Khartoum sheltered the last Mossad operatives, on the run from Libyan secret service agents, and spirited them out of Sudan in special boxes labeled “Diplomatic Mail.” Enhanced by Gad Shimron’s wide-ranging historical observations and his crisp, incisive prose, this is at once an entertaining read and a powerful tale of idealistic heroism.
“I would like to thank you for your book…. You merit a citation for this constructive deed. I hope the book will be widely distributed and will inspire us all.” –Meir Amit former Director of the Mossad