L to R: Malka Zote; Tiferet Renthlei; Rut Lhanghal; Dinah Lhanghal; Avigail Lhanghal
L to R: Malka Zote; Tiferet Renthlei; Rut Lhanghal; Dinah Lhanghal; Avigail LhanghalAssaf Renthlei. Courtesy of Shavei Israel

This Sunday, January 3, four women and one girl from the Bnei Menashe community of northeastern India will make Aliyah to Israel.

Their Aliyah is the result of a government decision that was promoted by the Minister of Aliyah and Integration, MK Pnina Tameno-Shete, with the support of the Minister of the Interior, MK Aryeh Machluf Deri, and the Foreign Minister, MK Gabi Ashkenazi in cooperation with the Shavei Israel organization.

The arrival of sisters Rut (28), Dina (21), and Avigail Lhanghal (13) from Manipur, along with Malka Zote (37), and Tiferet Renthlei (33) from Mizoram, follows that of the 252 Bnei Menashe who already made Aliyah to Israel two weeks ago.

After undergoing bureaucratic processing at Ben-Gurion Airport, the immigrants will be sent to temporary quarantine according to Ministry of Health restrictions. Subsequently, they will join the other recent Bnei Menashe immigrants who are being housed at Shavei Israel’s absorption center in Nordia, near Netanya, before settling in the city of Nof HaGalil.

“We are happy to start 2021 with the Aliyah of five more Bnei Menashe to the land of their ancestors, the Land of Israel, where they will join their family members who already live here,” said Shavei Israel Chairman and Founder, Michael Freund. “We are confident that 2021 will prove to be a significant year for the continued Aliyah of the Bnei Menashe, as we are planning to bring more than 500 new immigrants from the community to Israel, which is double the number we were able to bring in 2020.”

The Bnei Menashe, or 'Children of Manasseh', claim descent from one of the Ten Lost Tribes of Israel, who were sent into exile by the Assyrian Empire more than 27 centuries ago.

Their ancestors wandered through Central Asia and the Far East for centuries, before settling in what is now northeastern India, along the borders of Burma and Bangladesh. Throughout their sojourn in exile, the Bnei Menashe continued to practice Judaism just as their ancestors did, including observing the Sabbath, keeping kosher, celebrating the festivals and following the laws of family purity. They continued to nourish the dream of one day returning to the land of their ancestors, the Land of Israel.

Thus far, Shavei Israel has made the dream of Aliyah, immigration to Israel, possible for over 4,000 Bnei Menashe and plans to help bring more members of the community to Israel. Currently, there are 6,500 Bnei Menashe awaiting their return to the Jewish homeland.