Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Mongoloid Jews of India

Found this really interesting article on Wikipedia about the Bnei Menashe.
a group of more than 8,000 people from India's remote North-Eastern border states of Manipur and Mizoram who claim descent from one of the Lost Tribes of Israel.
Even though it sounds too fantastic to be true, Israel has recognized them as Jews and the Indians are automatically eligible to become Israeli citizens under their Law of Return.

Initially the Israeli Govt. refused to entertain such claims.
Israel does not consider this community [in Mizoram] as Jewish..."
- Ms Michal Buch, an Israeli embassy spokesperson in Delhi, told BBC News Online.

In 2005, Shlomo Amar, Chief Rabbi of the Sephardic Jews informed of his decision to recognise them as the lost descendants of ancient Israelites. However, before they could migrate, they had to convert to the Judaism and learn Hebrew. This gave rise to a crisis in Indian-Israeli relations. The Indian Govt. officials were not happy with the conversions and Israel put a stop to the conversions - at least for a while.

Since then, hundreds have migrated to the country and thousands are in the waiting list. Most of these people have been settled in the West Bank and other hot spots areas in Israel, which the Palestinians call the "Occupied Territories", finding themselves in the middle of one of the longest middleast conflicts. Some of them were also involved in the recent skirmish in Lebanon.

Is this what they had hoped for when they left India for the promised land? I wonder.

Related Posts: Lebanon - Scary scenario and some facts

Related Links:
- 49 Members of the Bnei Menashe Community Arrive in Israel
- Bneimenashe.com

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1 comment:

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