07 Feb Shalva Band – and Bnei Menashe singer – to perform at Eurovision after all
It wasn’t quite what everyone had hoped, but the Shalva Band, and with it, Dina Samte, a singer, and the darling of the Bnei Menashe, will have its moment of glory at the Eurovision semifinals.
The band, made up of young adults with disabilities, captured the heart of the Israeli public with their bid on Israel TV’s Kochav Haba, (Rising Star) where Israel’s Eurovision contestant is chosen.
The Eurovision Song Contest, often simply called Eurovision, is an international song competition held primarily among the member countries of the European Broadcasting Union but also including several other countries such as Australia and Israel.
As the Shalva Band, a favorite with both the viewers and judges, found themselves among the finalists, they realized there was no way to avoid desecrating the Sabbath during the mandatory grand finale rehearsal which is to be held on a Friday evening. After much deliberation they did the only thing they felt they could do and pulled out of the competition.
The band may no longer be a contestant for Eurovision, but, thanks to public broadcaster KAN, the Shalva Band will be performing in a special live appearance during the internationally-aired second semi-final.
Dina, who, along with another young woman named Annael, sings lead for the band, made aliyah with a group of 230 Bnei Menashe from the northeastern Indian state of Manipur in 2007, with the help of Shavei Israel.
Shavei Israel Founder and Chairman Michael Freund. “I remember accompanying Dina on her flight to Israel when we brought her on aliyah from India in 2007, and I am very excited for her and her family.”
Freund added: “This demonstrates that the Bnei Menashe have truly become accepted as an integral part of Israeli society and the Jewish people.”
The Bnei Menashe are descendants of the tribe of Manasseh, one of the Ten Lost Tribes exiled from the Land of Israel more than 2,700 years ago by the Assyrian empire. So far, some 3,000 Bnei Menashe have made aliyah thanks to Shavei Israel, including more than 1,100 in the past four years. Some 7,000 Bnei Menashe remain in India waiting for the chance to return home to Zion.