Mordechai Ben Porat 1923-2022
Updated: Sep 13
Curator: Orly Baher Levy
Design: Lavih Serfaty
Mordechai Ben Porat was a founder of the Babylonian Jewry Heritage Center and headed it for many years. He was also the architect of Operation Ezra and Nehemiah, which brought Iraqi Jews to Israel. He was sent to Iraq by the Mossad LeAliyah Bet (an organization that facilitated illegal immigration to Israel). For two years, he ran the activities of the Zionist underground in Iraq as well as the illegal immigration operations carried out via Iran, until finally overseeing the mass emigration of Iraqi Jews to Israel. During his mission, he was caught, arrested and subjected to unspeakable torture. But he managed to escape from prison and make his way back to Israel.
Ben Porat was born in Baghdad and emigrated to Palestine in 1945. He fought in the War of Independence and reached the rank of officer. In 1955, he was appointed Head of the Or Yehuda Local Council. Ten years later, he was elected to the Knesset and served as a minister in the Israeli government from 1981 to 1984.
In 2001, he was awarded the Israel Prize for his lifetime contribution to society and the State.
This exhibition puts a spotlight on the milestones in his life, reflected through photographs, documents, plaques of appreciation and personal items that were donated to the Museum by Mordechai and his family. His desk was converted into a vitrine that offers a glimpse of his life journeys, which are displayed, layer upon layer, in the drawers of the exhibition.