James Wooten, who directed Operation Magic Carpet, which flew some 45,000 Yemeni Jews to Israel in 1949, died Friday in Orlando, Fla. at the age of 71.
Wooten, a Baptist, directed Operation Magic Carpet when he was president of Alaska Airlines. His fleet of airplanes flew the Yemeni Jewish refugees from the British crown colony of Aden, in southwest Arabia, to the newly founded State of Israel. He also airlifted thousands of Jews from Shanghai to Israel in 1949.
Wooten formed his own airliner company in 1950, Near East Transport, which flew thousands of Jewish refugees from Iran and Iraq to Israel. For his efforts on behalf of Jewish refugees Wooten received commendation from Israel’s then Premier, David Ben Gurion.
The Archive of the Jewish Telegraphic Agency includes articles published from 1923 to 2008. Archive stories reflect the journalistic standards and practices of the time they were published.