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The Cat Is Out Of The Bag

A Degel Menashe Editorial

(January 23) One of Degel Menashe’s greatest difficulties has been to document its accusation that Shavei Israel systematically uses its control of B’nei Menashe Aliyah as a club with which to keep the B’nei Menashe community in line. Although it’s no secret that Shavei does this all the time, promising Aliyah to its followers and threatening to withhold it from its critics and their families, it has always done this carefully by means of whispers, innuendos, and word of mouth alone. Neither the promises nor the threats have ever been put in writing, thus making it possible for Shavei to deny that it makes use of them. Now, the cat is out of the bag.

The “cat” is a January 21 Facebook post in the Kuki language by Eliezer Baite, who holds the official position of Shavei Israel Information Secretary. Writing in the Shavei Facebook site Menashe Chate Kadam Na Uve, of which he is the moderator, Baite, who is not related to Sarah Baite, addressed the growing outrage in the B’nei Menashe community at the story, recently come to light, of how Shavei Israel leaders in Manipur sought to suppress the 2016 rape by one of their cronies of Sarah’s daughter Nelhoithem. Whoever joins in denouncing Shavei’s appalling handling of the incident, Eliezer Baite sought to make clear, will never make Aliyah. Here, translated into English, is an excerpt from his remarks:

“Aliyah is not something that can be yours just because you wish it to be. I am telling you this for your information, brothers. You need to be strong in your religion, because all of you who indulge in hearsay and say horrible things about Shavei must know that if you continue, you will not come [to Israel]….If you say bad things about your leader and do not listen to him, don't ever hope to enter the Holy Land….If you still don't understand me, [let me say that] if you want to share someone else’s food, you had better please him and not go about complaining and telling others that it’s too strongly spiced or makes you want to puke…. Your mistake [if you do this] will be like a flame at the edge of your clothing that will quickly engulf you. You’ll know it was a mistake when you never enter the holy land all the days of your life.

“And yet if you realize your mistake in time and come to us with repentance, you can be forgiven.

“Obedience to the leader is the beginning of wisdom.

“I am saying this because I love and care for you.”

Moderator, Menashe Chate Kadam Na Uve

Eliezer Baite

Eliezer Baite's Facebook post.

Thank you for your love, Eliezer. And for telling the truth about Shavei and its leader to whom obedience is owed, though he wrote in a Facebook post of his own this week (see today’s story “Is He To Be Believed?), “I realize the fact that the B’nei Menashe community is independent and has its own institutions.” Because of you, we now at last have Shavei’s idea of B’nei Menashe independence in writing. Don’t think we’re not grateful.



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