Menu JTA Search

Mossad Blames ‘operational Mishaps’ for 1961 Fatal Wreck of Emigre Boat

SIGN UP FOR THE JTA DAILY BRIEFING

Relatives of 44 Moroccan Jews who drowned 32 years ago when their small boat foundered en route to Israel have been informed that the shipwreck was due to a series of “operational mishaps.”

But the relatives have refused to accept the findings of an official report, calling it incomplete.

The Jews, who were making aliyah in a clandestine operation, drowned when their small boat, the Egoz, capsized off the Moroccan coast.

On Wednesday, Economic Development Minister Shimon Shetreet gave the family members the results of an official inquiry by the Mossad, Israel’s intelligence agency, which had arranged the voyage.

Despite the family members’ refusal to accept the findings, Shetreet claimed that he had presented them with the full report.

The ship overturned on Jan. 10, 1961, 15 miles off the coast of Morocco, on a course for Gibraltar. All 44 passengers drowned, but the boat’s two-man Spanish crew escaped.

Since that time, there have many rumors that the vessel had been leaky and unseaworthy from the beginning, had carried no lifeboats or rafts, and had a faulty radio transmitter and was manned by an untrustworthy crew.

Suspicions have been voiced that the Mossad findings were kept secret for nearly three decades for fear their publication would lead to demands for publication of other investigative commission reports.

NEXT STORY