Late But Not Too Late: A Degel Menashe Editorial

Shavei Israel in Manipur is being run by hoodlums.


It‘s no secret that, ever since its founding, Degel Menashe has been critical of Shavei Israel. We have objected to the monopoly given Shavei by the Israeli government over the Aliyah of the B’nei Menashe. We have denounced the ways in which Shavei has used this monopoly to control and intimidate the B’nei Menashe community. We have argued that a fair and transparent Aliyah process, such as does not exist under Shavei, would benefit all B’nei Menashe. We have appealed to Israel’s Ministry of Immigration and Absorption to transfer the administration of the B’nei Menashe’s Aliyah to The Jewish Agency. Yet for all our criticism, we have never before called Shavei an organization of gangsters.


This is what we now must do.


Consider these recent developments, all reported by this Website – the latest of them in today’s Newsletter:

  • Two months, ago, after Knesset Member Miri Regev referred on the Knesset floor to B’nei Menashe congregant Sarah Baite and her daughter, who was raped in 2016 by a Shavei crony now in Israel, Shavei’s Manipur Administrator Shlomo Sehjalal Kipgen threatened Baite with violence if she dared to re-open the case with the Manipur police. Kipgen did not shrink from conveying this warning to Baite through the leader of a banned brutal underground militia.


  • Last week, drunken Shavei Israel hooligans, led by Shavei’s Manipur Coordinator Benjamin Nehmang Haokip, broke into a classroom of Torah students in Churachandpur’s Beth Shalom synagogue, cursed and spat at them, and warned them that they and all other B’nei Menashe would be at physical risk if they did not carry out Shavei’s orders.


  • Two days later, as related by our Newsletter today, Shavei forcibly took over Beit Shalom and held an illegal, Soviet-style election for the synagogue’s Executive in what can only be called a criminal putsch.


To this needs to be added that Shavei Israel and its officials are now under investigation by the Manipur police for suspected acts of fraud, money laundering, and embezzlement. This, too, is a story that first broke in our Newsletter over a year ago.


And to this mafia-like organization Israel’s Ministry of Aliyah and Absorption continues to entrust the B’nei Menashe’s future!


It is late, but not too late, for the ministry to step in and put an end to this. The government of Israel needs to be aware that it is not the only government with responsibilities toward the B’nei Menashe, and that there are courts and officials in India who will no longer turn a blind eye to Shavei Israel’s behavior. It will be unfortunate if the Ministry of Immigration and Absorption decides to leave the dismantling of Shavei’s power to them.