Members of Bnei Menashe survive Indian earthquake

January 5, 2016 Agencies
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The Bnei Menashe, descendants of one of the Ten Lost Tribes of Israel, have reported extensive damage to their community in the Indian state of Manipur following a 6.7 magnitude earthquake which struck northeastern India early Monday morning killing at least nine people and injuring more than 90.

Earthquake survivors

Earthquake survivors

“The earthquake struck early in the morning and buildings shook violently,” said Tzvi Khaute, Shavei Israel’s emissary to Manipur and a member of the Bnei Menashe community. “Thank G-d no one among the Bnei Menashe was injured or killed.  There is, however, extensive damage from the quake.”

The Bnei Menashe are descendants of the tribe of Manasseh.

Shavei Israel has launched an emergency relief fund to assist members of the Bnei Menashe community affected by the natural disaster.

Damage

Damage

“We are in touch with the leaders of the Bnei Menashe community throughout northeastern India. Miraculously no one in the community was harmed, but we are concerned by reports of damage to homes and property,” said Shavei Israel Chairman and Founder Michael Freund.

In recent years, some 3,000 Bnei Menashe, whose ancestors were exiled from the Land of Israel more than 2,700 years ago by the Assyrian empire, have made Aliyah thanks to Shavei Israel. Freund added, “There are still 7,000 Bnei Menashe living in India and 700 of them, many of whom were affected by the earthquake, are awaiting final permission to make Aliyah in 2016. I call on the Israeli government to bring them home to Zion as soon as possible.”

The Bnei Menashe (sons of Manasseh) claim to be descended from one of the Ten Lost Tribes of Israel sent into exile by the Assyrian Empire more than 27 centuries ago. Their ancestors wandered through Central Asia and the Far East for centuries, before settling in what is now northeastern India, along the border with Burma and Bangladesh. Throughout their time in exile, the Bnei Menashe continued to practice Judaism including observing the Sabbath, keeping kosher, celebrating the festivals and following the laws of family purity nourishing the dream of returning to Israel.

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