|218 B'nei Menashe to return home|
|Written by Chris Perver|
|Friday, 06 October 2006 00:00|
Hundreds of Indians, calling themselves the B'nei Menashe (sons of Manasseh), have been given the go ahead to make Aliyah to Israel. Numbering about 7000, the Indian tribe has sought for fifty years to return to the land of their fathers. Over the last decade around 800 have returned, but the process of absorption has been hindered by diplomatic wrangling, preventing many more from coming. Israel's chief Rabbi flew to India earlier in the year in order to formally convert the descendants of Joseph's son, Manasseh to Judaism. 218 have so far been converted, and will arrive home next month. Thousands of Jews from Ethiopia, the Falash Mura, who also claim decadency from the tribes of Israel, are still waiting for the government to help them make Aliyah.
Quote: "Six rabbis were sent by Israel's Sephardic Chief Rabbi, Shlomo Amar, in conjunction with Shavei Israel to begin converting the Bnei Menashe. The rabbis met with hundreds of tribal members, testing their knowledge of Judaism and assessing their conviction, converting 216 individuals � over 90 percent of those who were interviewed. The candidates rejected were told to continue to study Jewish tradition for reassessment upon an upcoming second trip by the rabbis, when the rabbinic figures will meet with hundreds more Bnei Menashe members. "The rabbis were incredibly impressed with the Bnei Menashe," said Freund. "They saw for themselves that the group is very serious and should be integrated into the Jewish nation. That they are a blessing to the state of Israel."
I was encouraged today to think that, like these B'nai Menashes, we Christians also have a special claim to the land of Israel. Not because we were descendants of Abraham, or because our forefathers were Jews, but we have been grafted into God's vine, and made partakers of the covenants of promise through the death and resurrection of Son of David, the Lord Jesus Christ.