Aizawl, February 17, 2017, Virthli (ONP): In yet another wave of Jews migration, about 102 lost Jews from Mizoram have migrated to the promise land- Israel. A group of Mizo Jews who called themselves as Bnei Menashe left for Israel on last Sunday, Monday and Tuesday and the entire group arrived in Tel Aviv on Tuesday and Thursday.
Khazzan, a religious leader of Bnei Menashe in Mizoram Jeremiah Laltlanmawia said the migrated ethnic Mizo Jews would be formally converted to Judaism once they arrive in Israel after which they will be sent to their respective places and assign jobs.
The new immigrants are expected to live in the northern Israeli city of Nazareth Illit, which already has a flourishing Bnei Menashe community.
Laltlanmawia said that though they have already followed Judaism in Mizoram they have to do conversion in Israel as they are the lost tribe and not resemble to the Jews of United States. "Conversion in Israel itself is crucial and the Jewish custom has to be learnt first," he added.
He said that the migrated Mizo Jews would be accorded citizenship on their arrival in Israel and would be given voting rights.
Despite their wishes, conversion could not be done in Mizoram due to some inconveniences, he said.
Though the Mizo Jews call themselves the lost tribes of Israel, they cannot become citizens of that country unless and until they are formally converted by a 'mikveh' or Jewish spiritual bath (a kind of baptism).
The Bnei Menashe community who migrated this time moved in family including infants and three old citizens aged about 80, while there are few who left Mizoram without their family. They are mostly from Sialhawk, Kolasib, Bairabi, Lunglei and Aizawl.
The immigration is being facilitated by Shavei Israel, an Israeli-based Jewish organization that reaches out to descendants of Jews around the world.
The Bnei Menashe claimed that they are descended from Menashe, the lost tribe of Israel who departed the promised land in the eight century BC.
The present batch of Mizo Jews migrated to Israel belong to a group of 7500 people from Mizoram and Manipur whose immigration programe has been undertaken by the interior ministry of Israel government, Jeremiah said, adding the time for next immigration of new batch is yet to be known.
Among the Zo descendants in Manipur and Mizoram there are some group who identified themselves as the lost tribe of Israel and the Zo descendants in Manipur already started following Judaism in 1974 two years before Judaism was introduced in Mizoram.
The first batch of Mizo Jews comprising six youths (boys and girls) from Mizoram migrated to Israel in 1989 and more than 3,000 ethnic Mizos have migrated till date from the northeast.