'Lost tribe of Israel' coming 'home' [Excerpts]
Group believes it descended from biblical patriarch Joseph
JERUSALEM – The Israeli government has given permission for about 150 Indian citizens who believe they are one of the "lost tribes" of Israel to move legally to the Jewish state.
This decision clears the way for the arrival here of some of the remaining 7,200 members of the Bnei Menashe in India, who believe they are the descendants of Manasseh, one of the biblical patriarch Joseph's two sons and a grandson of Jacob.
"With so much economic and political turmoil in the world, it is comforting and reassuring to see that the Divine process of the Ingathering of the Exiles continues," said Michael Freund, chairman of Shavei Israel, a Jerusalem-based immigrant organization working with the "lost" Jews.
"Just as the prophets foretold, God is gathering in the Bnei Menashe, one of the Lost Tribes of Israel, and bringing them home to Zion," Freund [said].
The remaining thousands of members of the Bnei Menashe still reside in India, waiting to move to the Jewish state. Interior Minister Meir Shetreet, whose office must approve the group's immigration, reportedly allowed the 150 members to move here on humanitarian grounds, since the families were recently told their immigration had been approved, prompting many of them to sell their houses.