Last month, Mirna Singsit became the 2,000th member of India’s Bnei Menashe community to immigrate to Israel. As the video below shows, the wave of immigration with which she arrived was pretty momentous.
To understand why, you have to back up to 722 B.C.E., when the Assyrians exiled the 10 tribes of the Kingdom of Israel. A couple thousand years later, supposed descendants of these Jews started claiming their place in history, and in Israel: the Beta Israel community of Ethiopia is one such group; the Bnei Menashe are another.
Compounding the mystery of the Lost Tribes is debate about Israel’s political motives for naturalizing their alleged descendants. Fueling the controversy is the fact that Bnei Menashe migrants were initially placed primarily in West Bank and Gazan settlements. Kiryat Arba is still among their placements.
The Bnei Menashe themselves frame their return in less political terms. “Not only has this been my dream since I was born, but it has been my peoples’ dream for thousands of years,” Singsit in an interview.