Friday, 8 April 2005

Lost Tribe Found

The Currency Lad has a fascinating post featuring Assyrians, Burmese, Christian Evangelicals, and Global Politics. A quote from Rabbi Yechiel Eckstein:
Why does Israel receive such overwhelming support from the evangelicals? Mainly because most of them recognize the Jewish origins of Christianity and consider the Bible a sacred book and primary source of authority, in which they find a call for support for Israel and the Jewish people (Genesis 12). Aside from that, the evangelicals consider this support atonement for the thousands of years in which Christianity persecuted the Jewish people. Another reason has to do with political motives, which differ from those noted by MK Vilan: Israel is the only democracy in the Middle East, and the shared friendship has a common goal - of promoting democratic values so opposed to those of despotic Arab regimes.
The project being funded? The reintegration into mainstream Judaism of some Israelis (or rather, Israelites) last seen heading east in Assyrian bondage around 720 BC, and which genetic tests now show ended up in North-east India. As the Currency Lad writes :
Also known as the Shinlung, the history of the Bnei Menashe is one of exile: the claim is that their ancestors travelled the silk route from the Northern Kingdom of Israel in 721 BC, finally ending up in India and Myanmar. There, 7,000 Bnei Menashe belong to the Kuki-Chin-Mizo tribe which lives in northeast India near the border of Myanmar. For generations they kept Jewish traditions and claimed descent from the tribe of Menashe. They were converted to Christianity early in the twentieth century but 30 years ago a group broke away and reclaimed its Jewish heritage.
With lots of URLs and sources, this one's worth reading in it's entirety.

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