November 28, 1961
Israel launches Operation Yachin to enable members of the 2,000-year-old Moroccan Jewish community to make aliyah. By the time the operation ends in 1964, more than 97,000 Jews emigrate from Morocco via France or Italy, although some settle in France, Canada or the United States instead of Israel.
The operation, named for one of the pillars of Solomon’s Temple, follows an understanding reached between Israeli Prime Minister David Ben-Gurion and Moroccan King Hassan II. To compensate Morocco for the loss of valuable community members, Israel agrees to pay $500,000, plus $100 per emigrant for the first 50,000 Moroccan Jews who leave and $250 for each additional emigrant. The New York-based Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society contributes $50 million toward the expense of Yachin.
Despite occasional violent events, Morocco was one of the safer homes for Jews in the Arab world. Still, more than 120,000 Jews moved to Israel from Morocco from the founding of the state in 1948 until the start of Operation Yachin. Morocco, which gained independence from France in 1956, briefly gave in to pressure from the Arab League and banned Jews from moving to Israel from 1959 until February 1961.