[ Ed. note -We now have a new group of “Jewish settlers” coming to lay claim to Palestinian land–only in this case they are coming all the way from India. I received the link to the following article by email sent from a friend of mine who comments as follows:
“Been to Nazareth…and Nazarene Illit is a duplicate suburb that bisects the Palestinian community of Nazareth…a beautiful small hilly small city w/lovely Palestinian churches and mosques in the older part but the govt will use these newly “chosen” to upset the ongoing struggles. The Naz.Illit is strictly jewish SETTLER….pushing them into a traditional Christian city of Nazareth….having already installed a BAPTIST EVANGELICAL COLLEGE from central Texas to play divide and conquer there with young people. A total absolute mess. Chaos reigns. Wish you could see the postcard beauty of Nazareth from every angle as it used to be….with a gigantic church at the very top of the mountain there….huge tourist draw… with the influx of these 3000 Beni Menashe Indians followed by another 7000 waiting to travel there thus 10,000 new immigrants influx should drive all sorts of wedges between many different groups….an incidious plan crafted to cause the most chaos possible no doubt.”
The new arrivals will be settled in the town of Nazareth Illit, also called Upper Nazareth, whose former mayor, Shimon Gapso, once issued a ban on Christmas trees. This putative “lost tribe” of Jews, who are being transplanted from northern India, is referred to as the Bnei Menashe. Wikipedia is not the best source of information on Middle East issues, but here is what they say about them:
The Bnei Menashe are made up of Mizo, Kuki and Chin peoples, who all speak Tibeto-Burman languages, and whose ancestors migrated into northeast India from Burma mostly in the 17th and 18th centuries…Prior to conversion in the 19th century to Christianity by Welsh Baptist missionaries, the Chin, Kuki, and Mizo peoples were animists; among their practices were ritual headhunting. Since the late 20th century, some of these peoples have begun following Messianic Judaism. The Bnei Menashe are a small group who started studying and practicing Judaism since the 1970s in a desire to return to what they believe is the religion of their ancestors. The total population of Manipur and Mizoram is more than 3.7 million.
The Bnei Menashe number below 9,000; several hundred have emigrated to Israel. In 2003–2004 DNA testing showed that several hundred men of this group had no evidence of Middle Eastern ancestry.
Sounds very much like another case of those who “claim to be Jews, but are not.” Meanwhile, Palestinians who have been exiled from their homeland still are denied the right of return. The author of the JTA article below, however, seems to think that’s fine and dandy.
By Josefin Dolsten
(JTA) — One hundred and two members of the Jewish community in India, who trace their heritage to one of Israel’s lost tribes, are moving to Israel this week.
The immigrants, who hail from the northeastern Indian state of Mizoram — home to the second largest concentration of the country’s Bnei Menashe community, as they are called — will arrive in Israel on Tuesday and Thursday. The move is being facilitated by Shavei Israel, a nonprofit that seeks to connect “lost” and “hidden” Jews to the Jewish state.
The group plans to live in the city of Nazareth Illit, where other members of their community have already settled. Some 3,000 Bnei Menashe have immigrated to Israel in recent years, with another 7,000 remaining in India.
Their move represents the first time in three years that members of the Bnei Menashe community from Mizoram have moved to Israel, according to a statement by Shavei Israel.
“After 27 centuries of exile, this lost tribe of Israel is truly coming home,” said Shavei Israel founder Michael Freund. “But we will not rest until all the remaining Bnei Menashe still in India are able to make aliyah as well.”
Freund, a conservative writer and former aide to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, said his organization was hoping to bring more than 700 Jews from India to Israel this year.
In December, as they have in years past, thousands of members of the Bnei Menashe community gathered to celebrate Hanukkah in the town of Churachandpur, in the northeastern state of Manipur.