43 members of the Lost Tribe of Bnei Menashe from India's northeastern state of Manipur arrived recently in Israel.
The new ‘olim’ or immigrants to Israel 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.
Since the start of the year, 410 Bnei Menashe have come in Israel, the most ever recorded. The remaining 490 will be brought 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.
“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 (immigration) 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.
by Maud Swinnen