Mizoram, Manipur believe they are lost tribes of Israel
PTI, Aizawl: Moving across Aizwal, Israel store and Zion Street are common sights and a newcomer to the state capital could be excused if he momentarily wonders he is in any part of Israel.For many among thousands of living in Mizoram and Manipur, Israel is the promised land and believe they are the lost tribes of Israel.
They were overjoyed when the sephardic chief Rabbi, Mr Shlomo Amar reportedly recognised them as ‘descendants of Israel’.
After the recognition and announcement on March 30, ‘Amishav Hebrew Centre’, the institute for learning Hebrew language, Jewish religion and culture at Republic Veng locality here, was re-christened as ‘Shavey Israel Hebrew Centre’.
While amishav means ‘return my people’, shavei conveys that these people are now citizens of Israel, it is noteworthy that principal of the institute, Mr Alenby Sela and his family have already migrated to Israel after the announcement.
Ms Veronica K Zatluangi, land lady of the centre, told PTI that Jewish rabbis would be coming here to teach and formally convert the bnei Menashe, or the children of Menashe, ‘one of the lost tribes of Israel’, from the first part of May.
Another Israel enthusiast, Ms Zaithanchhungi, who has done extensive research in Mizoram and Israel on whether the Mongoloid stock of the north east is really the lost tribe of Israel, said she cried ‘hallelujah’ when she heard the decision of the chief Rabbi.
The chief Rabbi is head of the rabbinical court, the highest decision-making authority to determine who are the lost tribes of Israel, she said.
Ms Zaithanchhungi, who claimed to be a non-believer that Mizos belonged to Israel when she had begun her research, claimed she found that Mizo ‘prophets’ like Chala of Buallawn village had declared way back in 1950 that Mizos are the lost tribes of Israel, the descendants of Menashe.
“Other spiritualists like Kapa, Kawlha and Rev Chhawna also received visions that the Mizos belonged to the lost tribe of Israel and that the big boulder of Israel would roll down from the orient,” she said.
She claimed that during her six-year research since 1983, she found that Mizos, who were believed by historians to come from China through Vietnam, Thailand and Myanmar, did not perform any religious rites resembling the Buddhists, Hindus or Muslims.
“The culture, customs and religious rituals closely resembled the Jews and the fact was found and noted by the first Britishers who set foot on Mizoram like Col Mecall and others who wrote many books,” she said.
However, Dr P C Biaksiama, a former bureaucrat and now a researcher in Christian theology, says Mizo people as a whole did not believe that they belonged to the lost tribe of Israel and alleged the decision of the rabbinical court has a Jewish design to convert Mizo Christians to Judaism.