After many years of waiting, 252 members of Bnei Menashe from India landed at Ben Gurion Airport on Tuesday, a special operation facilitated by the Ministry of Aliyah and Integration and the Shavei Israel organization.
Hailing from northeast India, the Bnei Menashe have preserved the Jewish tradition across generations.
The new Olim include some 50 families and 24 single individuals, four infants under the age of two years old, 39 children aged 12 years old or younger, and 19 seniors aged 62 years or older.
The Olim were sent to a two-week quarantine as per the Ministry of Health’s regulations.
“I am delighted to have the honor of bringing members of the Bnei Menashe community to Israel, after many years of waiting,” said Israeli Minister of Aliyah and Integration Pnina Tameno-Shete.
“We are blessed to see their arrival to Israel during the festival of Hanukkah – this is a tremendous light for us all,” she added.
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.
“As we celebrate the festival of Hanukkah and the miracle of the flask of oil, the Aliyah of the lost tribe of Bnei Menashe after 2,700 years of exile is itself a modern-day Hanukkah miracle,” said the founder and chairman of the Shavei Israel organization Michael Freund.
“The story of this unique community that maintained its connection to the Jewish people and the land of Israel down through the generations is powerful and inspiring and I fervently hope that we will soon see all the remaining Bnei Menashe make Aliyah as well,” he added.
Since 2003, 2,437 members of the Bnei Menashe community have made Aliyah, with only 24 members of the community making Aliyah in 2019.