Dozens of Afghan refugees rescued in Israeli-Emirati mission

The latest Jewish News

Read this week’s digital edition

Click Here

Dozens of Afghan refugees rescued in Israeli-Emirati mission

Israeli philanthropists helped to rescue around 40 at-risk Afghans from the Taliban in a daring mission from Kabul.

Asylum seekers from Afghanistan reach Abu Dhabi, the United Arab Emirates on Sept. 6, 2021 (Image:IsraAID)
Asylum seekers from Afghanistan reach Abu Dhabi, the United Arab Emirates on Sept. 6, 2021 (Image:IsraAID)

Several Israeli philanthropists helped bring dozens of Afghans fleeing Taliban rule, including female athletes, to Abu Dhabi, it was revealed last week.

The rescue operation led by Aaron G. Frenkel, an aviation professional who had helped airlift thousands of Jews out of the Soviet Union, ended on Sept. 6, as 41 asylum seekers from Afghanistan reached Abu Dhabi in the United Arab Emirates. The Euro-Asian Jewish Congress detailed the operation in a statement Sunday.

Frenkel, who is the chairman of the Congress, teamed up with the group’s honorary president, Alexander Machkevich, and the Canadian-Israeli billionaire Sylvan Adams to extract the passengers from Afghanistan to neighboring Tajikistan.

Adams provided the funds for chartering a private jet from Tajikistan to Abu Dhabi, carrying on board members of Afghanistan’s former women’s cycling team, human rights activists and members of a robotics team, including women, the statement said. All were deemed at risk of reprisals from the Taliban, the statement said.

According to The Telegraph, after clearing several checkpoints they were temporarily stuck at the Tajikistan border, forcing the young women to spend a tantalising two-day wait in a nearby safe house as they sought permission to cross.

The rescue team eventually secured permission from the president of Tajikistan to cross the border, at which point Israeli aid workers met the girls in the capital of Dushanbe.

The Israeli international humanitarian agency IsraAID and officials from several governments also were involved in the rescue operation.

“When troubling events such as the current situation in Afghanistan occur in the world, we have an obligation to act as leaders,” Frenkel said.

 “If it is within our power to provide assistance then it is our duty to come to the rescue of any human being.”

In the 1980s, Frenkel used his connections in the aviation industry to help the Jewish Agency airlift Jews out of Eastern Europe and the former Soviet Union prior to its collapse.

Support your Jewish community. Support your Jewish News

Thank you for helping to make Jewish News the leading source of news and opinion for the UK Jewish community. Today we're asking for your invaluable help to continue putting our community first in everything we do.

For as little as £5 a month you can help sustain the vital work we do in celebrating and standing up for Jewish life in Britain.

Jewish News holds our community together and keeps us connected. Like a synagogue, it’s where people turn to feel part of something bigger. It also proudly shows the rest of Britain the vibrancy and rich culture of modern Jewish life.

You can make a quick and easy one-off or monthly contribution of £5, £10, £20 or any other sum you’re comfortable with.

100% of your donation will help us continue celebrating our community, in all its dynamic diversity...


Being a community platform means so much more than producing a newspaper and website. One of our proudest roles is media partnering with our invaluable charities to amplify the outstanding work they do to help us all.


There’s no shortage of oys in the world but Jewish News takes every opportunity to celebrate the joys too, through projects like Night of Heroes, 40 Under 40 and other compelling countdowns that make the community kvell with pride.


In the first collaboration between media outlets from different faiths, Jewish News worked with British Muslim TV and Church Times to produce a list of young activists leading the way on interfaith understanding.


Royal Mail issued a stamp honouring Holocaust hero Sir Nicholas Winton after a Jewish News campaign attracted more than 100,000 backers. Jewish Newsalso produces special editions of the paper highlighting pressing issues including mental health and Holocaust remembrance.

Easy access

In an age when news is readily accessible, Jewish News provides high-quality content free online and offline, removing any financial barriers to connecting people.

Voice of our community to wider society

The Jewish News team regularly appears on TV, radio and on the pages of the national press to comment on stories about the Jewish community. Easy access to the paper on the streets of London also means Jewish News provides an invaluable window into the community for the country at large.

We hope you agree all this is worth preserving.

read more: