After many years of waiting, the new Olim landed at Ben Gurion Airport thanks to a special operation facilitated by the Ministry of Aliyah and Integration, Shavei Israel Organization and The Jewish Agency
Ben Gurion Airport, (October 13, 2021) – Today, 235 new Olim from the Bnei Menashe community landed in Israel. Hailing from Manipur in northeast India, they have preserved the Jewish tradition across generations. Their Aliyah is the result of a government decision that was promoted by the Minister of Aliyah and Integration, MK Pnina Tameno-Shete and the Jerusalem based Shavei Israel organization.
The momentous Aliyah of hundreds of members of the Bnei Menashe community follows months of preparation spearheaded by the Ministry of Aliyah and Integration in cooperation with the Shavei Israel organization and The Jewish Agency for Israel.
“The 235 new Olim who landed this morning join the more than 4,000 Bnei Menashe who already live in Israel and have been integrated in the Israel society successfully, and I would like to congratulate each and every one of them for finally returning home, to the Land of Israel,” said Michael Freund, chairman of Shavei Israel. “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.”
“Welcome to Israel. It’s good that you are at home. For years you dreamed about returning to Zion and now we have managed to make the dream come true,” said the Minister of Aliyah and Integration, MK Pnina Tameno-Shete. “According to the policy I lead in the ministry, we work to bring Jews to Israel from all countries of the world, regardless of race, gender, origin or income level. I’m excited and for the new olim and happy to see them here with us at home.”
The Bnei Menashe, or sons of Manasseh, claim descent from one of the Ten Lost Tribes of Israel, who were sent into exile by the Assyrian Empire more than 27 centuries ago. Their ancestors wandered through Central Asia and the Far East for centuries, before settling in what is now northeastern India, along the borders of Burma and Bangladesh. Throughout their sojourn in exile, the Bnei Menashe continued to practice Judaism just as their ancestors did, including observing the Sabbath, keeping kosher, celebrating the festivals and following the laws of family purity. They continued to nourish the dream of one day returning to the land of their ancestors, the Land of Israel.
Thus far, Shavei Israel has made the dream of Aliyah, immigration to Israel, possible for over 4,000 Bnei Menashe and plans to help bring more members of the community to Israel. Currently, there are 6,500 Bnei Menashe awaiting their return to the Jewish homeland.