Shavei Israel Publishes List of 253 Olim To Arrive in Israel Next Month
(November 13) After long weeks of rumors and uncertainty, Shavei Israel, the Jerusalem-based private organization that has been responsible for the Aliyah of B’nei Menashe from India, has published a list of the 253 men, women, and children chosen by it to come to Israel as new immigrants next month.
The 253, some 140 from Manipur and the remainder from Mizoram, were selected from a longer list of 722 individuals approved for Aliyah several years ago, who have been waiting for it ever since. According to unconfirmed reports, a reason for the delay was that Shavei Israel, which is known to be in financial straits, was unable to pay for the immigrants’ airfare as it had done in the past. In the end, it is said, the government of Israel agreed to foot the bill.
The group of immigrants is slated to leave Mizoram and Manipur for New Delhi on December 10 and to depart from there on an El Al flight for Israel somewhere between December 13 and 21. Although sources close to Shavei have said that it will be met in Delhi by Israel’s Minister of Immigration Penina Tamano-Shata, who will then escort it to Israel, the ministry has thus far issued no statement to this effect.
Shavei sources have also revealed that, once it arrives in Israel following testing for Covid-19 before its departure from India, the group will spend two weeks in quarantine at the Immigrant Absorption Center of Kibbutz Nordiya near Netanya. After this, our Newsletter has learned, it will be transferred to a second Absorption Center in Kfar Hasidim, east of Haifa, where it is projected to spend three months studying Hebrew and Judaism in preparation for its conversion by a rabbinical court . Subsequently, the plan is for it to be given permanent housing in Nof Ha-Galil, the former Upper Nazareth.
The release by Shavei of the list ended a period of mystery in which the immigrants were informed they had been chosen but were told to keep their identities secret. In Manipur and Mizoram, the list was greeted with mixed emotions. Many not on it were happy for those who were and for their families in Israel with whom they will now be reunited. Others, veteran members of the community, were angered to discover that relative newcomers had been leapfrogged over them because of their connections with Shavei. Complaints of favoritism and lack of transparency abounded. “There is a lot of disgruntlement,” said Lalam Hangshing, chairman of the newly elected B’nei Menashe Council, in an interview with him posted on our Website this week. “People are complaining about the unfairness of the selection. They want to know why some are on the list and others aren’t.”