Published December 24, 2012
JERUSALEM – Dozens of Jews who claim to be the descendants of a lost biblical Jewish tribe have emigrated to Israel from their village in northeastern India.
The Bnei Menashe say they are descended from Jews banished from ancient Israel to India in the eighth century B.C.
An Israeli chief rabbi recognized them as a lost tribe in 2005 and about 1,700 moved to Israel before the government stopped giving them visas.
Israel recently reversed that policy, agreeing to let the remaining 7,200 Bnei Menashe immigrate. Fifty-three arrived on Monday.
Michael Freund, an Israel-based activist on their behalf, says nearly 300 others will arrive in the coming weeks.
Twenty-six-year-old Lhing Lenchonz arrived with her husband and 8-month-old daughter. She said that "after waiting for thousands of years, our dream came true."