Sunday, May 2, 2010

After Nearly 3000 Years In Exile, Lost Tribe Heads Home To Israel

Rivka Lhungdim, a member of the Bnei Menashe community, paints Israeli flags on children's faces for the Israeli Independence Day celebrations

When Tzvi Khaute landed at Tel Aviv for the first time, he wanted to kiss the earth. Alas, the modern airport was all tarmac and stone, so he kissed the first soil he came across, in a flowerpot. Thousands of diaspora Jews from around the world make aliyah — the migration to Israel — every year, but for Tzvi and his fellow Tibeto-Burmese immigrants from the far northeast of India, the journey was particular freighted with symbolism. They believe they are descendants of one of the ten lost tribes of Israel, sent into exile by the Assyrians almost 800 years before the Romans destroyed the temple in Jerusalem.

About 1,700 members of the Bnei Menashe tribe — the Sons of Manasseh, one of the original 12 biblical tribes of Israel — have migrated to Israel, completing what they believe is an extraordinary, 2,700-year exile that took them from the Middle East seven centuries before the Christian era
A hundred years ago, my forefathers thought the land of Israel was not on this earth
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