235 Indians who claim descent from one of the Ten Lost Tribes of ancient Israel land in Tel-Aviv to start a new life

New Jewish emigrants from the Bnei Menashe (sons of Manasseh) community in India, hold Israeli flags as they cheer upon arrival at Ben Gurion Airport near Tel-aviv. 250 emigrants of Bnei Menashe community, claimed to be one of the Ten Lost Tribes of Israel that settled in India, have arrived today in Israel as part of an operation by the Ministry of Aliyah and Integration
New Jewish emigrants from the Bnei Menashe (sons of Manasseh) community in India, hold Israeli flags as they cheer upon arrival at Ben Gurion Airport near Tel-Aviv. (Photo by Ilia Yefimovich/picture alliance via Getty Images)
  • 235 people from the Bnei Menashe community arrived in Israel, this week.
  • The community has lived in a remote corner of India since being exiled in 733 BC.
  • The move is supported by Israel’s Minister of Aliyah and Integration and the Jerusalem-based Shavei Israel organization.

Two hundred thirty-five people from the Bnei Menashe community, based in India’s remote northeastern border states of Manipur and Mizoram, have immigrated to Israel.

The Bnei Menashe, or sons of Manasseh, are supposedly descended from one of the Ten Lost Tribes of Biblical Israel sent into exile by the Assyrian Empire starting in 733 BC.

After the exile, the ancestors of the Bnei Menashe community lived in Central Asia and the Far East for centuries before settling along India’s border of Burma and Bangladesh.

Throughout their exile, the Bnei Menashe continued to practice Judaism, including observing the Sabbath, keeping kosher, celebrating the festivals, and following the laws of family purity.

Since then, they have been practicing Judaism and hoping to one day return to Israel, reported the Jewish News Syndicate.

New Jewish emigrants from the Bnei Menashe (sons of Manasseh) community in India, kneel to the ground as they cheer after arriving at Ben Gurion Airport near Tel-aviv
New Jewish emigrants from the Bnei Menashe (sons of Manasseh) community in India, kneel to the ground after arriving at Ben Gurion Airport near Tel-aviv Ilia Yefimovich/picture alliance via Getty Images

The move is supported by the Minister of Aliyah and Integration Pnina Tamano-Shata and the Jerusalem-based Shavei Israel organization.

“The olim [a Hebrew term for immigrants] who landed this morning join the more than 4,000 Bnei Menashe who already live in Israel and have been integrated into Israel society successfully, and I would like to congratulate each and every one of them for finally returning home,” said Michael Freund, chairman of Shavei Israel, according to the Jewish News Syndicate.

“We still must not forget that 6,500 members of the community are still waiting in India and longing for the moment when they, too, will be able to come to Israel and it is our duty to do everything we can to make this happen,” said Freund.