6 Soldiers From India’s ‘Lost Tribe’ Join Israeli Army Together by the Forward

6 Soldiers From India’s ‘Lost Tribe’ Join Israeli Army Together

Image by Shavei Israel

Six soldiers from the “Bnei Menashe” community in northeastern India have joined an Israeli army unit together. They were inducted into the IDF in a ceremony this month. The “Bnei Menashe” community, which has a population of 10,000 worldwide, claims to be directly descended from the “lost tribe” of Menashe, one of the original 12 tribes of Israel.

“My family’s dream was always to immigrate to Israel and build our future there, and my private dream was always to serve as a soldier in the IDF,” Binyamin Tungnung, now a private in the IDF, said during his induction ceremony. “I am very happy that I have been able to realize my dream in full.”

The “Bnei Menashe” claim that they are one of the ten tribes of Israel that were exiled after the Assyrian conquest of Israel in the 7th century BCE. Genetic testing has not confirmed that “Bnei Menashe” have Middle Eastern ancestry.

There are 3,000 “Bnei Menashe” who live in Israel. Haaretz reported that many struggle with employment, as they do not speak Hebrew well.

Contact Ari Feldman at feldman@forward.com or on Twitter @aefeldman.


Ari Feldman

Ari Feldman

Ari Feldman is a staff writer at the Forward. He covers Jewish religious organizations, synagogue life, anti-Semitism and the Orthodox world. If you have any tips, you can email him at feldman@forward.com. Follow him on Twitter @aefeldman.

Israel Army Inducts Soldiers From Indian Lost Tribe

Your Comments

The Forward welcomes reader comments in order to promote thoughtful discussion on issues of importance to the Jewish community. All readers can browse the comments, and all Forward subscribers can add to the conversation. In the interest of maintaining a civil forum, The Forward requires that all commenters be appropriately respectful toward our writers, other commenters and the subjects of the articles. Vigorous debate and reasoned critique are welcome; name-calling and personal invective are not and will be deleted. Egregious commenters or repeat offenders will be banned from commenting. While we generally do not seek to edit or actively moderate comments, our spam filter prevents most links and certain key words from being posted and the Forward reserves the right to remove comments for any reason.

Recommend this article

6 Soldiers From India’s ‘Lost Tribe’ Join Israeli Army Together

Thank you!

This article has been sent!