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Black Hebrews in Israel

January 4, 1979
See Original Daily Bulletin From This Date

The problem of the Black Hebrews residing in Dimona may soon be solved by establishing an agricultural village for them in the Negev and providing them with the means to construct their own community. This, in essence, is a recommendation of a special committee headed by Knesseter David Glass that studied the problem.

The issue of the Black Hebrews was raised by groups of Dimona residents who claimed that they were having an adverse affect on the local youth in particular and the community in general. The Dimona residents claimed that the Black Hebrews were conducting services and carrying on practices similar to that of the notorious People’s Temple in Jones-town, Guyana.

A group of Dimona citizens went to the Supreme Court asking for an injunction against the Interior, Health and Education Ministries to show cause why there was no alternative to having the Black Hebrews in Dimona. They noted that the Black Hebrews live in almost inhuman conditions, including up to 30 men, women and children in one apartment. The citizens said that there are 34 such apartments. In addition, the citizens claimed that the Black Hebrews have their own court system and mete out punishment to transgressors according to their own laws and decisions by their own leader.

In any event, they are not going to be expelled from Israel and might even be given Israeli citizenship, a status they lack presently. There are several thousand Black Hebrews in Israel, although their exact number is not known since many came as tourists and simply stayed on.

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