BBC marks fifty years since Operation Mural

David Littman (pictured with his wife Giselle and their first child ) spent several months in Morocco in 1961 planning Operation Mural

One anniversary has not gone unmarked by the BBC, of all broadcasters – the fiftieth anniversary of the smuggling of over 500 Jewish children from Morocco to Israel in Operation Mural. Last week, it was the subject of a 10-minute World Service Radio programme – Witness.

Mural was Mossad’s code-name for David Littman, whose cover was a public-school-educated Anglican gentleman, on tennis-playing terms with the British consul, and with excellent security contacts in Casablanca. His mission was to defy the Moroccan ban on Jews wishing to emigrate to Israel.

Yossi Shahar was one of the children smuggled out to what the Moroccan authorities thought was a holiday camp in Switzerland. In fact Switzerland was a way-station to Israel – and the children, although separated from their parents, had no intention of coming back home.

Alan Johnston – the BBC journalist who spent several months as an Army of Islam captive in Gaza – narrates the programme. All credit to producer Helena Selby who managed to surmount many obstacles in order to get this programme out on air.

BBC Witness programme (podcast)
Rescuer of 533 Moroccan children recognised at last


  • Where did you read the account where the children felt they had been kidnapped?
    From what I gather, it was the children who were most enthusiastic to go – parents were reluctant. Understandably so, as they did not know when they would see their children again.

  • There have been different versions of this story told. Some of the children felt as though they were kidknapped and reading this post helps me to understand the cirumstances surrounding this operaion and their perception of their "rescue", those whom experienced this can give their perspective without twisting the facts. I am interested to see what the majority of the children have to say.


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