Monday, Jan 26, 2015Monday, Jan 26, 2015

'Lost tribe' members migrate from India to Israel

Published on Dec 25, 2012 8:53 AM
Jewish immigrants of the Bnei Menashe tribe of the Jewish community in Manipur, northeast India, wait to be reunited with family members as they arrive at Ben Gurion airport near Tel Aviv on December 24, 2012. Fifty members of this Indian Bnei Menashe community arrived to join 1,700 member who already live in Israel. -- PHOTO: AFP

TEL AVIV (AFP) - Fifty members of an Indian community believed to be descendants of one of the lost tribes of Israel arrived on Monday in the Jewish state, completing their immigration.

Linking up with family members who have already settled in Israel, they are among the first wave of the 7,200-strong Bnei Menashe community's mass immigration to the Jewish state.

The Indians say they are the descendants of the 10 tribes who lived in the kingdom of Israel in Biblical times and who were dispersed, according to the Bible, after the invasion of the Assyrians in 721 BC.

"After thousands of years of exile, we have returned home at last," said Mr Nachshon Gangte, 47, waiting for an older sister he has not seen for 12 years.

If you are not a subscriber, you can get instant, unlimited access here