Pure chutzpah: the breathtaking daring of Operation Moses

Menachem Begin was Israel’s most reviled and misunderstood prime minister. Reviled by Britain for his paramilitary activities against the British Army in Palestine, Begin was a keen admirer of the Westminster parliamentary system and English common law. Reviled by Jimmy Carter as a hawk who refused to cede an inch of territory, this ultra-nationalist signed the peace treaty with Egypt that returned the Sinai. Reviled by the left as a racist and fascist, Israel’s first right-wing prime minister summoned the head of the Mossad soon after his victory and instructed him: ‘Bring me the Jews of Ethiopia.’ That unexpected order from a mercurial leader began a train of events that