Jewish Agency To Join In Bringing B’nei Menashe to Israel
(May 11) For the first time since B’nei Menashe began coming to Israel in the early 1990s, The Jewish Agency will join in bringing them, it was announced in Jerusalem this week. Since 2007, B’nei Menashe Aliyah has been the exclusive domain of the private Jerusalem-based organization Shavei Israel. This will no longer be the case.
The development represents a victory for Degel Menashe, which has campaigned for a new approach to B’nei Menashe immigration with both The Agency and The Ministry of Immigration and Absorption. As reported by our Newsletter at the time, a January 11 meeting between Degel Menashe representatives and high officials of The Agency, including its chairman Isaac Herzog, helped pave the way for the change.
Five-hundred-forty-eight immigrants, it was also announced, will be in the next contingent of B’nei Menashe to arrive. This number comes from a list of 722 candidates for Aliyah, drawn up by Shavei Israel in 2016, 252 of whom reached Israel last December. All future lists, Degel Menashe has been assured by reliable sources in The Jewish Agency, will be compiled with The Agency’s full participation and under its oversight.
The 548 olim, our Newsletter has learned, will be divided into two groups, the second to follow upon the first’s completion of its conversion process. Unlike the past, in which Shavei Israel footed most or all of the bill for the airfare of B’nei Menashe olim, the bulk of the costs will be paid for this time by the The Jewish Agency. Shavei Israel is said to be in financial straits and unable to shoulder the burden as once it did.
Following their conversion, the new group of immigrants will reportedly be housed in Nof ha-Galil (formerly Upper Nazareth), where the 252 who preceded them now reside.