Aizawl: All the ethnic Mizos, who have migrated to Israel and settled in the “Holy Land”, were safe from the attacks by Hamas and no one from the community has been abducted to Gaza, reports from Mizo Jews said on Friday.
“Those ethnic Mizos who are settled near Gaza strip were safe as they were in synagogues observing Sabbath when the Hamas terrorists attacked the area,” a Mizo living in Israel told Zoram Chronicle over phone.
Bnei Manashe Council president Lalam Hangshing in Israel said that there are over 200 ethnic Mizos in Israel Defense Forces and around 300 reservists engaged in fighting against the Hamas terrorists.
Shavei Israel Mizoram Chapter secretary Asriel said that there are at least 5,000 ethnic Mizos who migrated to Israel from the northeastern states of Manipur and Mizoram residing in the “Promised Land”.
Around 1,500 people have migrated to Israel from Mizoram and 3,500 from Manipur since 1990s, Asriel said, adding that with the children and grandchildren, there should be more than 5,000 ethnic Mizos who have settled in the country.
The belief that Mizos were one of the lost tribes of Israel began taking roots in Mizoram during 1970s.
The Bnei Menashe (children of Manasseh) claim descent from one of the Ten Lost Tribes of Israel, who were sent into exile by the Assyrian Empire more than 27 centuries ago. Their ancestors wandered through Central Asia and the Far East for centuries, before settling in what is now northeastern India, along the border with Burma and Bangladesh.
Rabbi Eliyahu Avichail, who had visited Mizoram from Israel in 1986 and again in 1988-89 and 2004, named the Jews community of Zo-Kuki ancestry as Bnei Menashe, meaning descendants of Menashe. He gave the recognition after scrutinising the community’s account of their ancestral connection with Menashe, the largest of the 10 lost tribes mentioned in the Bible.
Avichail’s recognition of ethnic Mizos as the lost tribe of Israel was confirmed by Israel’s Chief Rabbi Shlomo Amar in early 2005 triggering the exodus of people from Mizoram and Manipur.
Asriel said that another 800 to 900 people in Mizoram and Manipur are currently awaiting their turn to make Aliyah under Israel’s Law of Return to the Holy Land of their ‘actual’ origin.