Israel to decide on the fate of the ‘lost tribe’

Caught in politics and cross-fire

The Head Heeb reports that Israel’s Chief Sephardi Rabbi will soon decide if the Bnei Menashe – a ‘lost’ Jewish tribe that surfaced in India’s North-eastern states – qualify for Israeli citizenship.

After consulting with other rabbinical authorities, Amar will rule if there is enough evidence to render the community members “safek” Jews, i.e., those whose claim to being Jewish weak enough to require conversion but strong enough to make it incumbent upon the Jewish community to take responsibility for them. [Jerusalem Post]

Although several hundred of the Bnei Menashe found their way to Israel over the last few years, the Israeli government stopped allowing immigration last year, pending further investigations.

Already, Israel’s interior minister, Avraham Poraz, has frozen the program that has permitted about 100 members of the Bnei Menashe community to immigrate annually. He is concerned that people from poor countries are coming to Israel to upgrade their standard of living, rather than because of historical and religious Jewish ties. [NYT | via IsraPundit]

The Palestinians too are outraged that some strange people are brought in from mountains thousands of miles away and given plots of land in what they see as Palestinian territories. More than opinions and attitude of their new neighbours, the Bnei Menashe have the peace process to contend with: they may become homeless if Ariel Sharon’s plan for withdrawal of settlements goes ahead.

3 thoughts on “Israel to decide on the fate of the ‘lost tribe’”

  1. I doubt very much that the Bnei Menashe would be settled in the West Bank or Gaza. The Falashmura haven’t been, and the current Israeli government doesn’t want to deal with the political repercussions from a mass immigration to the occupied territories. If the Bnei Menashe come to Israel, they’ll probably join the Falashmura in the Negev.

  2. Meashe tribe, the lost one, who even before India got independence, while being very much uncivilized traced their IsraELITE route is a real proof they are Israel. Besides DNA Test in Kolkata India confirmed. What else ?

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