Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Israel plans to repatriate ‘lost Jewish tribe’ in India

By Jonathan Cook
January 27. 2010

"Nazareth, Israel // The Israeli government is reported to have quietly approved the fast-track immigration of 7,000 members of a supposedly “lost Jewish” tribe, known as the Bnei Menashe, currently living in a remote area of India.

Under the plan, the “lost Jews” would be brought to Israel over the next two years by right-wing and religious organisations who, critics are concerned, will seek to place them in West Bank settlements in a bid to foil Israel’s partial agreement to a temporary freeze of settlement growth.

A previous attempt to bring the Bnei Menashe to Israel was halted in 2003 by Avraham Poraz, the interior minister at the time, after it became clear that most of the 1,500 who had arrived were being sent to extremist settlements, including in the Gaza Strip and next to Hebron, the large Palestinian city in the West Bank.....

Shavei Israel lobbies for other groups of Jews to be brought to Israel, including communities in Spain, Portugal, Italy, South America, Russia, Poland and China.

Israeli peace groups were outraged in 2002 when Shavei Israel placed a group of 100 Peruvian immigrants, whose ancestors converted to Judaism 50 years ago, in the Gush Etzion settlement bloc in the West Bank."

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