Jeremiah Hnamte, a local leader of the Jewish community here said that a group of a hundred or at least 50 ‘converts’ may soon leave for Israel, which is considered as their ‘Promised Land’.
The United Messianic Youth Council (UMYC), India, the apex body of the Messianic in country headquartered in Imphal (Manipur) also recently announced that in April 2008 the Supreme Court of Israel has allowed ‘Indian Jews’ to secure Israeli citizenship.
The Israeli Supreme Court on April 16 this year overturned its previous verdict and ruled that Mizo Jews could get the Israeli citizenship according to the ‘Law of Return’ as per a petition filed by the US-based United Messianic Jews Congregation.
The Israeli law defines a Jew as ‘a person who was born of a Jewish mother or has converted to Judaism’.
Hnamte said many Mizos ‘belonging to the lost tribe of Israel’ have formally converted themselves to Judaism after being ‘baptised’ at ‘Mikvahs’ or spiritual baths by rabbis visiting Mizoram and Manipur during the past few years.
“More than 1,200 people from Mizoram migrated to the Holy Land during the past years, with over 500 going in 2006,” Hnamte said, adding that about the same number of Jews also went ‘home’ from Manipur.
Michael Freund, leader of an Israel-based organisation, responsible for the finding Mizo Jews, was quoted as saying, “These people were the lost tribe who left the Holy Land 2,700 years ago and are finally coming home.”
Freund claimed that the Israel Interior and Absorption ministry earlier approved the ‘home coming’ of the Mizo Jews and Rabbi Hanoch Avizidik and two representatives of the organisation arrived here in October, 2006 after which around 500 Mizo Jews left for Israel.
A Mikvah or spiritual bath of the Jews was erected at Hnamte’s bamboo industry premises at Zuangtui locality near here, where they were formally converted to Judaism in 2006 by the rabbis.
Earlier, Sephardi Rabbi Shlomo Amar, head of the Rabbinical court in Israel, had announced the recognition of the Bnei Menashe – the ethnic community in Mizoram and Manipur – as Israeli descendants.
After the chief rabbi’s announcement on March 30, 2006 the Amishav Hebrew Centre – the institute for learning the Hebrew language and Jewish religion and culture located at Republic Veng Street here – was rechristened the Shavei Israel Hebrew Centre.