Ingathering of Exiles: India and Israel sign agreement to replace Palestinian workers

Ingathering of Exiles: India and Israel sign agreement to replace Palestinian workers

India and Israel recently signed an agreement that would initially allow 10,000 India to fill jobs in construction and caregiving. The final stage will see 42,000 Indian nationals working in Israel.

“We expect the agreements to be approved shortly, and we will soon be able to start setting up the necessary mechanisms to employ skilled labor in a proper and supervised manner,” a spokesman for the Israeli Ministry of Population and Immigration said.

The addition of workers from India is expected to help deal with the rising cost of living in Israel and help thousands of families waiting for nursing care.

34,000 workers will be engaged in the construction field and another 8,000 for nursing needs.

According to the Israel Population and Immigration Authority (PIBA), there are currently 115,000 foreign workers in the country. The majority of them are caregivers. After that, the large bulk of workers are in the agriculture and construction fields. A smaller portion of workers are employed in hotels and high-tech.

Unskilled construction and service industry jobs in Israel are usually filled by Palestinians, including citizens of Gaza who are issued special work permits that allow them to cross into Israel but not to stay overnight. There are approximately 140,000 Palestinians, mainly from Judea and Samaria who have permits to work in Israel mainly in construction.

The Indian Embassy in Tel Aviv welcomed the announcement, issuing a statement on its website:

“There are approximately 85,000 Jews of Indian origin in Israel. The main waves of immigration into Israel from India took place in the fifties and sixties. The majority is from Maharashtra (Bene Israelis) and relatively smaller numbers from Kerala (Cochini Jews) and Kolkata (Baghdadi Jews). In recent years, some Indian Jews from Mizoram and Manipur (Bnei Menache) have been immigrating to Israel. While the older generation still maintains a deep bonding with India, the younger generation has become increasingly assimilated into Israeli society.”

The Maharashtra are believed to be descendants of one of the Ten Lost Tribes via their ancestors who had settled there centuries ago. With Indian independence in 1947 followed by the Israeli Declaration of Independence in 1948, many Bene Israel, including those who had arrived in India after their exodus from newly-independent Pakistan, soon immigrated to Israel. An estimated 60,000 Maharashtra currently live in Israel.

The return of the Indian Jews is a major step in the prophesied Ingathering of the Exiles.

The Bnei Menashe left Israel more than 27 centuries ago. As part of the Ten Tribes, they were separated from the rest of Israel by the Assyrians at the end of the First Temple, 140 years before the Babylonian exile. Their ancestors wandered through Central Asia and the Far East for centuries, before settling in what is now northeastern India, along the border with Burma and Bangladesh.

Throughout their sojourn in exile, the Bnei Menashe continued to practice Judaism just as their ancestors did, including observing the Sabbath, keeping kosher, celebrating the festivals and following the laws of family purity. And they continued to nourish the dream of one day returning to the land of their ancestors, the Land of Israel.

Shavei Israel has brought over 3,500 Bnei Menashe to Israel, helping them through the difficult process of becoming acclimated and settled in a new country. There are still another 7,000 Bnei Menashe remaining in India.

Rabbi Michael Freund, head of Shavei Israel, has played a central role in returning the Bnedi Menashe to Israel.

“The return of the Bnei Menashe is a clear and explicit indication that we have entered a new stage of the Redemption,” Freund told Israel365 News. “In so many places, the prophets talked about the return of Judah and the return of Israel. At first glance, it seems repetitive unless it was intended to tell us that the tribes of Israel were meant to return separately from the tribe of Judah, or, what we know today as the Jews. The prophecy clearly states that the tribes of Israel and Judah will return separately, and that is what is happening right now with the Bnei Menashe.”

The chief rabbi of Israel ruled in 2005 that the Bnei Menashe were recognized as part of a lost tribe. Freund founded Shavei Israel in 2002 to achieve this aspect of the end-of-days ingathering of the exiles but he emphasizes that this process will necessarily include the non-Jews.

“The nations of the world have a direct role to play in returning the Jewish people to Israel,” Freund stated emphatically, quoting the Prophet Isaiah.

“Thus said Hashem: I will raise My hand to nations And lift up My ensign to peoples; And they shall bring your sons in their bosoms, And carry your daughters on their backs. Isaiah 49:22

“The verse says they will ‘carry’,” Freund said. “This implies being actively and directly involved. They will bring our sons and daughters. This is involvement in the most intimate and personal manner, implying a deep level of trust and brotherhood. This is a powerful biblical mandate for non-Jews to help this aspect of geula move forward.”

Cochin Jews are the oldest group of Jews in India, with roots that are claimed to date back to the time of King Solomon. After India gained its independence in 1947 and Israel was established as a nation, most of the Jews in South India made Aliyah and emigrated from Kerala to Israel in the mid-1950s while others moved to Australia. 

appeared first on Israel365 News.

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