Indian Jews Arrive in Israel

    TEL AVIV, ISRAEL - DECEMBER 24:  Jewish immigrants of the Bnei Menashe tribe of the Jewish community in Manipur, northeast India as they reunite with their family members at the Ben Gurion airport on December 24, 2012 near Tel Aviv, Israel. Fifty members of Bnei Menasche are emigrating to join the 1,700 already resident in Israel, following a 2005 ruling in which they were recognized by Chief Rabbi Shlomo Amar as being the descendents of the Manasseh, a lost biblical Jewish tribe. An estimated 7,200 Bnei Menasche remain in the Indian states of Mizoram and Manipur are eligible to emigrate should they undergo conversion, although the Indian authorities have resisted this process.  (Photo by Uriel Sinai/Getty Images)

    Uriel Sinai/Getty

    The “Lost Tribe” is home. Dozens of Jews claiming to descend from a lost biblical Jewish tribe arrived in Israel Monday from a village in northeastern India, ending a five-year struggle to return to what they call “our land.” The Bnei Menashe say they were banished from ancient Israel in the eighth century B.C., and were recognized as a lost tribe in 2005, when 1,700 of them moved back to Israel—before the government stopped issuing them visas two years later. Israel recently reversed that policy, allowing the remaining 7,200 to immigrate. Some dispute the tribe’s qualification as Jews, arguing that they are simply fleeing poverty in India or being used to strengthen Israel’s claim to the West Bank.

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