Families Reunited as Members of 'Lost Tribe' Arrive in Israel
A group of 40 Bnei Menashe arrived on Aliyah today from India, marking the second time in the last three weeks that a group from this Lost Tribe of Israel has moved here.
The immigrants, who hail from the northeastern Indian state of Mizoram, were brought to Israel by Shavei Israel, which received permission from the Israeli government to bring 900 Bnei Menashe to the Jewish state over the next 15 months.
Back in December, a group of 38 Bnei Menashe olim (immigrants) arrived at Ben Gurion international airport, amid emotional scenes.
The Bnei Menashe are descendants of the tribe of Menashe (or Manasseh), one of the Ten Lost Tribes of Israel which were exiled by the Assyrian empire after the death of King Solomon more than 2,700 years ago.
The immigrants were greeted this morning at Ben-Gurion Airport by MK Yariv Levin (Likud), who has staunchly supported the Bnei Menashe aliyah, together with Shavei Israel Chairman Rabbi Michael Freund.
“Welcome to Eretz Yisrael. Welcome home!” Levin told them.
Addressing the immigrants, Freund noted that today is the holiday of Tu Bishvat, when many Israelis plant trees and celebrate their connection with the land.
“Your arrival provides us all with yet another reason to celebrate,” he said, noting that, “your return after more than 2,700 years is proof that the ingathering of the Exiles continues to move forward.”
The new arrivals include a grandfather who had never before seen any of his 13 Israeli-born grandchildren, and a mother who had been separated from her daughter, son-in-law and four grandchildren for more than seven years.
The flight was sponsored by the International Christian Embassy Jerusalem (ICEJ).
Rabbi Freund said that that his organization plans to bring another 80 Bnei Menashe on Aliyah before the end of the month.
More than 2,000 Bnei Menashe now live in Israel, and there are another 7,000 still in India, all of whom wish to move to Israel.