Hundreds of young people from the Bnei Manashe tribe in northeastern India want to immigrate to Israel and enlist in the IDF to join the war. The tribe recently held a march in support and in solidarity with Israel in the city of Aizawl in the state of Mizoram in northeastern India to mark 100 days since the outbreak of the war in Gaza.
Participants waved Israel flags and called on the government to bring them to Israel immediately so that they could enlist in the IDF and fight alongside its soldiers, whom they called "our brothers and sisters".
According to the Shavei Israel organization, which has been working to bring members of the group to Israel for over 20 years, 215 men from the Bnei Menashe tribe were already serving in the IDF and taking part in fighting against Hamas and Hezbollah. According to the organization, 75 of them were active duty soldiers (most in combat units) and 140 in the reserves.
The organization also said that, as a general rule, the rate of recruits among the Indian immigrants was very high and stands at 99% among the boys. 10% of the girls enlist in the IDF and 90% do national service, for religious reasons.
"The members of the Bnei Menashe community are passionate Zionists and care deeply about the State of Israel, its citizens and their security. It is not by chance that many of them choose to serve in combat units in the IDF, and we are proud of their willingness to risk their lives like other IDF soldiers," said the founder and chairman Shavei Israel organization, Michael Freund.
"Since the outbreak of the war, we have received hundreds of requests from young community members in northeastern India who wish to immigrate to Israel and enlist immediately in the IDF to fight shoulder to shoulder with their brothers and sisters."
According to the tradition passed down through the generations, the members of the Bnei Menashe community in India consider themselves descendants of the Menashe tribe, one of the ten lost tribes that were expelled from the Land of Israel at the end of the First Temple period, more than 2,700 years ago, by the king of Assyria. Their number is currently estimated at approximately 10,500 people. So far, about 5,500 Bnei Menashe immigrated to Israel thanks to the Shavei Israel organization, and about 5,000 are still waiting in India for the opportunity to immigrate, but the Israeli government was thus far refusing to respond to their requests.