Jerusalem – With an arduous journey ahead, 7,232 members of the Bnei Menashe population, who live in northeastern India, will be immigrating to Israel.The Bnei Menashe believe they are an offshoot of the Jewish people.

According to the tradition that is handed down to the community’s younger generations, they are the descendants of the tribe of Menashe, one of the 10 tribes that were exiled from Israel at the end of the First Temple period.

The Shavei Yisrael organization, which has been working among the Bnei Menashe community in India, established centers over the past decade for the study of Hebrew and Judaism for them in order to help them strengthen their Jewish identity and assist those who wished to immigrate to Israel.

This is a very organized group with approximately 50 synagogues and an umbrella organization that unites all the communities. Shavei Yisrael, with its director, Michael Freund, has been working with the Israeli government for several years as well in order to persuade it to bring all the Bnei Menashe here. Individuals from the Bnei Menashe community began to immigrate to Israel as early as 1982.

By 2003, approximately 1,250 members of the community entered the country on tourist visas provided by the Ministry of the Interior and in small groups.

In March 2005, Israel’s Chief Rabbi Shlomo Amar recognized the Bnei Menashe community’s connection to the Torah and to the people of Israel, and decided “they must be helped to return to the homeland of the Jewish people.”

Incidentally, the matter of the Bnei Menashe entered Israeli public discourse in 1996, when members of the community sent an emotional letter asking for help to the prime minister at the time, Benjamin Netanyahu. The one who opened the letter and took the matter under his responsibility was an adviser in the Prime Minister’s Bureau by the name of Michael Freund, an immigrant from the U.S., who later took the matter on as a personal project.


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David Bedein is an MSW community organizer and an investigative journalist.   In 1987, Bedein established the Israel Resource News Agency at Beit Agron to accompany foreign journalists in their coverage of Israel, to balance the media lobbies established by the PLO and their allies.   Mr. Bedein has reported for news outlets such as CNN Radio, Makor Rishon, Philadelphia Inquirer, Los Angeles Times, BBC and The Jerusalem Post, For four years, Mr. Bedein acted as the Middle East correspondent for The Philadelphia Bulletin, writing 1,062 articles until the newspaper ceased operation in 2010. Bedein has covered breaking Middle East negotiations in Oslo, Ottawa, Shepherdstown, The Wye Plantation, Annapolis, Geneva, Nicosia, Washington, D.C., London, Bonn, and Vienna. Bedein has overseen investigative studies of the Palestinian Authority, the Expulsion Process from Gush Katif and Samaria, The Peres Center for Peace, Peace Now, The International Center for Economic Cooperation of Yossi Beilin, the ISM, Adalah, and the New Israel Fund.   Since 2005, Bedein has also served as Director of the Center for Near East Policy Research.   A focus of the center's investigations is The United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA). In that context, Bedein authored Roadblock to Peace: How the UN Perpetuates the Arab-Israeli Conflict - UNRWA Policies Reconsidered, which caps Bedein's 28 years of investigations of UNRWA. The Center for Near East Policy Research has been instrumental in reaching elected officials, decision makers and journalists, commissioning studies, reports, news stories and films. In 2009, the center began decided to produce short movies, in addition to monographs, to film every aspect of UNRWA education in a clear and cogent fashion.   The center has so far produced seven short documentary pieces n UNRWA which have received international acclaim and recognition, showing how which UNRWA promotes anti-Semitism and incitement to violence in their education'   In sum, Bedein has pioneered The UNRWA Reform Initiative, a strategy which calls for donor nations to insist on reasonable reforms of UNRWA. Bedein and his team of experts provide timely briefings to members to legislative bodies world wide, bringing the results of his investigations to donor nations, while demanding reforms based on transparency, refugee resettlement and the demand that terrorists be removed from the UNRWA schools and UNRWA payroll.   Bedein's work can be found at: and A new site,, will be launched very soon.