Watch: Members of 'lost tribe' arrive from India

Some 80 new immigrants from India participate in festive ceremony upon landing, including group recitation of 'Shema' prayer.

Yoni Kempinski,

Shema recitation at airport
Shema recitation at airport
Yoni Kempinski

About 80 immigrants from the lost tribe of Menashe (“Bnei Menashe”) from northeastern India, arrived in Israel Thursday morning, landing at Ben-Gurion Airport with the assistance of the Shavei Yisrael organization.

This is the second group of Bnei Menashe arriving in Israel this week, bringing the total number of new immigrants to 162.

At the airport, the immigrants were received with singing and dancing in a moving ceremony, which saw the participation of Interior Minister Aryeh Deri. During the ceremony, the excited immigrants recited the Shema Yisrael prayer affirming faith in G-d.

It should be noted that the Bnei Menashe identify themselves as descendents of Israel. They are members of the Koki-Chin-Mizo tribes from the states of Mizoram, Assam and Manipur in northeastern India on the border of Myanmar. According to the tradition transmitted through the generations among the tribes, they are the descendents of the tribe of Menashe - one of the ten tribes that were exiled from the Land of Israel at the end of the First Temple period in the 8th century BCE.

The Shavei Israel organization operates in Bnei Menashe villages and has established centers of Jewish studies for the community, and at the same time assists those who wish to immigrate to Israel. 3,000 Bnei Menashe have immigrated to Israel in the last decade thanks to the efforts of Shavei Israel.