250 Bnei Menashe immigrate from India to Israel

Descendants of one of the lost tribes of Israel arrived in Tel Aviv at 2.45am this morning 


Two hundred and fifty members of India’s Bnei Menashe tribe immigrated to Israel last night, arriving at around 2.45am local time. 

Members of one of the so-called lost tribes arrived in Tel Aviv-Yafo Airport from New Delhi. According to the Jerusalem Post, they will now have to quarantine and adjust to their new home, before moving to Nof Hagalil in northern Israel. 

The Bnei Menashe – or “sons of Manasseh” – claim to be descended from Jews exiled from the Assyrian Empire over 2,700 years ago. They eventually settled on the border between what is now India, Bangladesh and Myanmar. 

The Chief Rabbinate of Israel historically did not consider the Bnei Menashe to be Jewish. But in March 2005, Chief Sephardi Rabbi Shlomo Amar recognised them as being descended from one of the sons of Joseph. 

The move was spearheaded by Penina Tamano-Shatta, minister of Aliyah and Absorption, in association with non-profit Shavei Israel. 

Israel National News reported the MK as stating that she was “delighted” to have brought them to Israel as the Bnei Menashe were a community “close to my heart.” 

Ms Tamano-Shatta continued: “I will continue to act on behalf of the Bnei Menashe community to ensure and expedite the aliyah of the remaining members of the community in India.  

“We are blessed to see their arrival to Israel during the festival of Chanukah – this is a tremendous source of light for us all.” 

Despite practising Jewish ritual and tradition, the Bnei Menashe will still have to undergo a conversion process upon arrival to be seen as Jewish in the eyes of the state. 

Share via

Want more from the JC?

To continue reading, we just need a few details...

Want more from
the JC?

To continue reading, we just
need a few details...

Get the best news and views from across the Jewish world Get subscriber-only offers from our partners Subscribe to get access to our e-paper and archive