From India to Tiberias: A new branch of Bnei Akiva for Bnei Menashe youth

From India to Tiberias: A new branch of Bnei Akiva for Bnei Menashe youth

Another new branch of the Bnei Akiva movement was recently launched! After similar successes in other northern communities, this new chapter is again intended for the Bnei Menashe community who immigrated to Israel from northeastern India, this time for those in Tiberias.

About 70 kids from the community living in the city have already joined the branch, and the movement is currently training youth leaders from the community who will be the ones to lead the branch and guide the younger group. The activity at the branch takes place in the Kuki language (the language of the Bnei Menashe) and includes culturally adapted activities for the members of the community.

The branch was launched at a special event on the holiday of Purim, and the kids even went on the traditional ‘Masa Pesach’, a pre-Passover overnight trip, together with all the members of the movement in the area of Lavi Forest and Golani Junction.

Regular activities will take place during the week and every Saturday. The Ministry of Immigration and Absorption and the Jewish Agency are also partners in establishing the branch along with the Bnei Akiva movement and the Tiberias municipality.

Batia Haokip [Courtesy]

The branch joins another two for members of the Bnei Menashe community, one in Nof Hagalil and the other in Beit She’an. 

The branch is led by Batia Haokip, who immigrated to Israel 6 years ago with the assistance of Shavei Israel, and also is part of the Bnei Menashe community in Tiberias. The families in the community immigrated to Israel in recent years, with some of them arriving in Israel only in the last year and joining the community in Tiberias.

Bnei Akiva Secretary General Yigal Klein said that “a significant part of the movement’s activity is the issue of absorbing those who made aliyah. In recent years, the Bnei Menashe community has become an integral part of the Bnei Akiva landscape in all activities, camps and trips. The new branch is another important step in the path and on the way to help their successful absorption in Israel.”

Bnei Menashe youth leaders in Nof Hagalil

The Mayor of Tiberias, Yossi Nevea, added that “The city of Tiberias aims to provide the widest envelope for the absorption of many immigrants. It is not for nothing that Tiberias has been selected several times for awards in the area of a city that absorbs many types of immigrants. Beyond concern for education, employment, language learning classes and more, it is important to us that the immigrants will be integrated as much as possible into the life of the community and the urban activities. The integration of the Bnei Menashe youth into our thriving youth movement system and the opening of the Bnei Akiva branch especially for them, is another sign of the successful absorption of the Aliya in Tiberias. I congratulate the Bnei Akiva movement for opening the special branch that gives the children of the Bnei Menashe community yet another home in Tiberias.”

See Hebrew article at Arutz 7