From India to Israel: The Brave Bnei Menashe Joining Israel’s Defense

In a profound testament to the unbreakable bond between Jews worldwide and the State of Israel, over 200 members of the Bnei Menashe community from India have heeded the call to defend the Jewish homeland. Since the tragic events of October 7, these valiant individuals have made Aliyah and stepped up to join Israel’s military ranks, ready to stand in solidarity with their brethren.

This inspiring group, with 75 new olim (immigrants) enlisting in combat units and 140 joining the reserves, has embraced the call to duty with open hearts. The Bnei Menashe, tracing their heritage to one of the Lost Tribes of Israel, has found a new beginning in Israel. The significant efforts of Shavei Israel, a Jerusalem-based non-profit, have been instrumental in rekindling the connection between the Bnei Menashe and Israel, supporting their Aliyah for over two decades.

Their commitment is unparalleled, with 99% of eligible men from this community joining the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) to contribute to the defense against Hamas, which is designated as a terrorist organization by Israel, the United States, and the European Union. The women are not far behind, with 90% engaging in National Service, showcasing the community’s dedication to contributing to Israeli society.

The story of Natanel Touthang, a 26-year-old member of the Bnei Menashe serving in the Givati Brigade who was injured by shrapnel from a Hezbollah-fired rocket, underlines the personal sacrifices made by these soldiers. It also echoes the sentiment of many young Bnei Menashe who are eager to make Aliyah and serve in the IDF, expressing a deep desire to fight shoulder-to-shoulder with other Jews.

In Conclusion, The arrival and enlistment of the Bnei Menashe highlight the unique tapestry of Israel’s population, woven together by individuals from diverse backgrounds united by a common heritage and a shared commitment to their ancestral homeland. Israel’s values of courage, community, and resilience shine through these acts of bravery and solidarity. As Israel continues to stand as a beacon of freedom and democracy in the Middle East, it is the collective strength of its people, including the honorable Bnei Menashe, that fortifies the nation’s spirit.