Oct 17 2007
"Lost Tribe" Returns to Israel [Excerpts]
An Indian tribe called the Bnei Menashe, which means "children of Manasseh," have for many years claimed to be one of the "lost tribes" of Israel. They say they are the descendants of the tribe of Manasseh, who fled Israel on trade routes to India after the destruction of the Northern Kingdom. Earlier this month a group of 230 Bnei Menashe arrived in Israel – they came with tourist visas, but plan to seek Israeli citizenship. Approximately 1,000 Bnei Menashe have moved to the Holy Land since 1994, and there are about 7,000 who still live in India, who could eventually immigrate to Israel.
In March of 2005 the Israeli Supreme Court ruled that all conversions performed outside of Israel would be recognized by the authorities under the Law of Return. Two months after the Supreme Court's decision, Israeli Chief Rabbi Shlomo Amar publicly recognized the Bnei Menashe as part of the lost tribe of Manasseh. Since then, hundreds of members of India's Bnei Menashe community have formally converted to Orthodox Judaism. By converting, the Bnei Menashe will then be able to immigrate to Israel and obtain citizenship under the Law of Return. The Law of Return was passed five years after the end of World War II to facilitate the establishment of a Jewish homeland in Israel.
There are many groups that believe the northern tribes, separated during the rift between Rehoboam and Jeroboam after the death of Solomon (and subsequently taken captive by Assyria in 722 BC), later migrated to Europe and elsewhere. The myth of the ten lost tribes is the basis for British-Israelism and other colorful legends, but these stories have no real Biblical basis. They are based upon misconceptions derived from the misreading of various Bible passages (2 Kings:17:7-23, 2 Chronicles:6:6-11).
Ezekiel 36 and 37 declares that Judah and Israel shall be joined as one in the regathering. This is true today. Ezekiel's famed vision of the Valley of the Dry Bones is unquestionably the monumental Biblical fulfillment of the 20th century. Beginning in the last half of the 19th century, the regathering, which climaxed in the establishment of the State of Israel, is one of the most irrefutable evidences that we are on threshold of God's climax for the nations.