Bnei Menashe from Manipur Arrived in Israel: Indian Jews from ‘Lost Tribe’

Forty-three members of the Lost Tribe of Bnei Menashe, who claim to be the descendants of the lost biblical Jewish tribe arrived in Israel on Thrusday from their village in northeastern Indian state of Manipur, reported

Since the begining of the year, a total of 410 Bnei Manashe have emigrated to Israel. The Jerusalem-based Shavei Israel oganization brought the new Olim (immigrants to the Jewish state), with permission from the Israeli government last October to bring 900 Bnei Menashe to Israel by 2015. It is said that the remaining 490 Bnei Menashe will be brought to Israel by year’s end.

The Bnei Menashe say they are descended from Jews banished from ancient Israel by the Assyrian Empire after King Solomon’s death in the eighth century B.C. Israeli chief rabbi Shlomo Amar recognized them as a lost tribe in 2005, he insisted they undergo conversion to be recognized as Jews.

In recent years, Shavei Israel has brought some 2,400 Bnei Menashe from the Northeastern states of Manipur and Mizoram near India’s border with Myanmar.

The Bnei Menashe are made up of the Mizo, Kuki and Chin peoples, who all speak Tibeto-Burman languages, Prior to their conversion to Christianity by Baptist missionaries in the 19th century, the Chin, Kuki, and Mizo followed animism and practiced ritual headhunting. The immigrants are now converted to Judaism.

In January 2013, about 2000 Benie Menashe immigrant arrived in Israel and settled in the Judea, Samaria and Gaza Strip.

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