Indian Jewish couple reunites in Israel after 7 years

Indian Jewish couple reunite in Israel after seven yearsJERUSALEM: In an emotional reunion, an Indian couple separated more than seven years ago since their engagement have been reunited in Israel after a group of Bnei Menashe Jews from Manipur immigrated to the Jewish state.

Edna, a young woman whose fiancĂ©? Gamliel had migrated to Israel in 2007, had to wait for more than seven years to rejoin him because the government under the then Prime Minister Ehud Olmert put a freeze on the community’s immigration soon after his arrival.

She reunited with her fiancé yesterday after the arrival of 40 such Jews from Manipur to Israel, the first batch out of a total of 250 immigrants from the Lost Tribe that are slated to arrive over the coming month.

“We brought him (Gamliel) in 2007 and she was supposed to be part of the next group, but the then Olmert government froze the Aliyah (immigration), and it was only restarted in 2012,” Michael Freund, Chairman of Shavei Israel that has been at the forefront of bringing Israel’s Lost Tribes to the Jewish state, told reporters at the Ben-Gurion airport.

Menashe are considered descendants of the tribe of Menashe (or Manasseh), one of the Ten Lost Tribes of Israel which were exiled by the Assyrian empire after the death of King Solomon more than 2,700 years ago.

“Her reunion with Gamliel is the first time they have seen each other in seven years”, said Freund adding, “They were both very emotional.”

“As he stood with her, he said to me he felt like the forefather Jacob who waited so long to marry Rachel,” he added.

The immigration of India’s northeastern Jews, commonly referred to as Bnei Menashe, restarted in 2012 after Freund, who had served as an adviser to Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in the past, succeeded in persuading his government to resume it.

Shavei October last received permission from the Israeli government to bring 900 northeastern Jews here by 2015.

Earlier this year, the organization brought 160 members of the Bnei Menashe community from Mizoram to Israel.

Sephardi Chief Rabbi Shlomo Amar recognized the Bnei Menashe as descendants of Menashe in 2005, opening the door to their immigration to Israel.

Freund also mentioned about a grandfather, who arrived with the group, who had never met his four Israeli grandchildren, as well as two siblings, a brother and a sister, who had not seen their sister who lives in Israel for 21 years.

“So it was just an incredibly powerful experience, and it was a tangible reminder of the miracle that is the State of Israel,” he added.

More than 2,200 members of the Bnei Menashe community today live in Israel while some 7,000 are still in Manipur and Mizoram waiting to immigrate to the Promised Land.-PTI

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