FUNDAMENTALLY FREUND: Operation Menashe 2017 is underway
The group which made aliya last week was the first to arrive in over a year and a half, and the first from the northeastern Indian state of Mizoram to move to Israel in more than three years.
Last week, less than a month shy of his 50th birthday, Lyon Fanai fulfilled a dream he had been nurturing for as long as he could remember. After an arduous journey across multiple time zones and spanning more than two millennia, Fanai and his beautiful family arrived safely in Israel, part of a group of 102 Bnei Menashe who made aliya from the northeastern Indian state of Mizoram.
And thus began Operation Menashe 2017, which was launched by Shavei Israel, the organization I founded and chair, in conjunction with Israel’s Absorption Ministry.
With God’s help, over the course of the next 12 months, we aim to bring another 600 Bnei Menashe back home to Zion, more than 27 centuries after their ancestors were exiled from this land.
Yes, despite the image put forward by much of the mainstream press, there are great things happening in the Jewish state.
Indeed, the normally bustling arrivals hall at Ben Gurion Airport was even more spirited than usual, as the immigrants emerged from customs and fell into the arms of loved ones they had left behind many years ago.
Menachem Menashe, who made aliya in 2006, was reunited at last with his sister, her husband and his six nieces and nephews, whom he hadn’t seen in more than a decade.
A young man named Ariel was literally beaming with joy at the sight of his fiancé, who arrived with her family. They had not gazed into one another’s loving eyes for more than seven years. Shortly, they will stand under the marriage canopy and finally be able to start a Jewish household together here in the Jewish state.