Photo Credit: Nir Kafri

Ben Gurion Airport, Israel, June 19 – Forty-three members of the Lost Tribe of Bnei Menashe arrived yesterday in Israel. The new Olim (immigrants to Israel) hail from the northeastern Indian state of Manipur, and they bring the total number of Bnei Menashe who have made Aliya this month to 250. Thus far, since the start of the year, 410 Bnei Menashe have come here, the largest number that has ever been recorded. The immigrants were brought to the Jewish state by the Jerusalem-based Shavei Israel organization, which received permission from the Israeli government last October to bring 900 Bnei Menashe to Israel by 2015. The remaining 490 Bnei Menashe (out of the total of 900) will be brought to Israel by Shavei Israel by year’s end. “It is so moving to see the Lost Tribe of Bnei Menashe returning to Zion and rejoining the people of Israel,” said Shavei Israel Founder and Chairman Michael Freund.

“After 2,700 years, the Bnei Menashe are returning to our people and our land, and we won’t stop until all the remaining 7,000 community members still in India will be able to come here,” Freund added.

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“This is a great day for me and my family, and for all of the Bnei Menashe,” said Bnei Menashe community chairman Yochanan Phaltual, who made Aliya this morning from India and was reunited with his father and siblings in Israel. “It is a dream come true, the dream of our forefathers, and we thank G-d that we have come home,” he added.

The Bnei Menashe are descendants of the tribe of Menashe (or Manasseh), one of the Ten Lost Tribes of Israel who were exiled by the Assyrian Empire after King Solomon’s death more than 2,700 years ago. In recent years, Shavei Israel has brought some 2,400 Bnei Menashe back home to Zion. Another 7,000 still remain in northeastern India, waiting for the day when they too will be able to return to Israel and the Jewish people.

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18 COMMENTS

  1. it is such a wonderful blessing and also how many of us who have lineage from India may or may not know we may be a part of this? the tribes are truly scattered and a small portion was only found. many who have immigrated to the U.S. carry lines going back to these areas, africa and the middle east (the land of Israel.)

  2. I don't hate or have anything against them, if anything, I'm rather adverse to the rabbis who encourage these misguided beliefs and behaviors, and people who perpetuate these "lost tribe" myths and encourage "conversion". I, and many others would not consider these people part of the Jewish people. Just because they practice a certain religion and went through a "conversion process" doesn't mean they are connected to 3 thousand years of heritage, ancestry, and culture. Unlike the Sephardim, the Ashkenazim, the Mizrachim, and the yemenites, the "bnei menashe" (a recently invented name) have no ancestral or cultural connection to the land of Israel, so their "right of return" is rather bogus and certainly not what Theodor Herzl and David Ben Gurion had in mind. Conversion to Judaism is not a time-honored tradition, until recently, it has been an extremely rare and discouraged phenomenon. Now, in the modern world, is certainly not the time to make it otherwise. We should encourage people to be proud of their own heritage not to adopt ours.

  3. yes, the same is true of the Beta Israel (falasha is a derogatory term in amharic). They claim to be descended from the tribe of Dan, but most evidence points to a medieval Ethiopian christian origin. however they almost all live in Israel now and were brutally persecuted in Ethiopia. The Menashe are only a few decades old and do not really face persecution.

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