bnei menashe 88.
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The group of 218 Bnei Menashe from northeastern India that is slated to make aliya in November will settle in the north of the country, with the bulk of the immigrants going to Upper Nazareth and some being directed to Karmiel.
They will join the nearly 1,000 Bnei Menashe already living in Israel, most of whom are concentrated in Afula, Nitzan, Jerusalem and Kiryat Arba. Another 7,000 are still living in India, waiting for the Israeli government to allow them to make aliya.
Michael Freund, a Jerusalem Post columnist and chairman of Shavei Israel, the organization responsible for the Bnei Menashe, cited several reasons behind the decision to settle the group in the North.
"The Bnei Menashe are committed Jews and Zionists who want to help build this country," he said, noting that the Israeli government has for years been trying to encourage more Jews to settle in the Galilee and the Negev.
"And after what the North went through this summer during the Lebanon war, it is especially meaningful that the Bnei Menashe will help to strengthen and revitalize this part of Israel," he said.
In addition, Freund noted, "The immigrants all hail from the Indian state of Mizoram, where the landscape is lush and green and resembles the Galilee topographically, making it an ideal place for them to start their new lives in the Jewish state."
"Ultimately, our goal is to see the Bnei Menashe fully integrated into Israeli society," he said, adding that "the surest sign of success will be when there are Bnei Menashe immigrants living in all parts of this country, from Kiryat Shmona in the North to Eilat in the South."