Freund with a Bnei Menashe youth in India 311.
(photo credit: MICHAEL FREUND)
Israel Beiteinu will prevent any funding from being approved by the Knesset
Finance Committee if Finance Ministry bureaucrats continue to block funding for
bringing more Bnei Menashe to Israel, Israel Beiteinu chairman Avigdor Lieberman
warned at a Knesset press conference Wednesday.
RELATED:Op-Ed: Here comes another lost tribe
The Bnei Menashe are
descendants from the biblical tribe of Menashe who were exiled from the kingdom
of Israel more than 27 centuries ago.
In a historic decision at the end
of June, the ministerial committee on absorption decided to bring the 7,232 Bnei
Menashe who remain in India to Israel.
But since then, funding clashes
between the Finance Ministry and the Israel Beiteinu- controlled Immigrant
Absorption Ministry have prevented the Bnei Menashe’s mass
Lieberman said that despite reports to the contrary, he was not
angry at Finance Minister Yuval Steinitz, but at clerks working under
“I have respect for the finance minister, who came into the Knesset
at the same time as me,” Lieberman said.
“The Israeli economy is doing
terrifically, and he deserves credit for that. But there are clerks in his
budget department who cause problems. I told the finance minister that if
money isn’t transferred to the Absorption Ministry, we will freeze transfers to
all ministries at the Knesset Finance Committee.”
Michael Freund, the
chairman of Shavei Israel, which has brought 1,700 over the past decade, praised
“I am grateful to Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman for
taking the lead on this issue and standing up for the Bnei Menashe,” Freund
“I hope we will soon see the resumption of their aliya.”