As we were praying about 2020, we prayed about having clear vision. How could any of us have envisaged the new reality we are living in? International travel at almost a standstill, daily reports on the statistics of coronavirus victims, economic struggles, unemployment rates at record high levels and uncertainty of when the situation will resolve. One of the surprising offshoots of the worldwide pandemic is the fact that more Jewish people are choosing to come home to Israel this year than in most other years. In fact, there is reason to believe that aliyah (Jewish immigration to Israel) numbers may be three times higher than last year.
Why now? For the Jewish community in the Diaspora (outside of Israel), no matter what their circumstances, if something goes wrong, they know Israel will welcome them as citizens. Suddenly, international travel came to an almost complete halt, economic woes hit and the pandemic deeply impacted the Jewish communities in many cities worldwide. Suddenly, many realized that the time had come to make Israel their home. The idea of “going while it is still possible” began to be heard. Some are better equipped to make the move. Others need help. Regardless, when they enter Israel, everybody immediately goes into lockdown for two weeks.
None of this took the Lord by surprise. Some 2,500 to 3,000 years ago, Israel’s prophets were inspired by God to write about the return of the Jewish people to their own land. For many years we have been helping the Jewish people come home from the countries of the former Soviet Union as well as the Bnei Menashe from India. We will continue to do this holy work as long as we have funds.
A couple of months ago, Rabbi Michael Freund of Shavei Yisrael asked us to pray for a breakthrough to allow the Bnei Menashe to come to Israel. The process has been held up because there was no government for over a year, no budgets were approved and many things had to halt. We agreed to pray. We knew we were praying in line with God’s will—He wants them to come home.
Rabbi Freund has just sent us some wonderful news. The new Minister of Immigration and Absorption MK (member of Knesset/Parliament) Penina Tamanu has stated: “No Jew has the [authority] to close the gates of Israel. Not in times of distress either…” She went on to vow to bring to Israel all those waiting in Ethiopia as well as the members of the Bnei Menashe community in India.
This is the breakthrough we have been praying for. In previous years, only a trickle of the Bnei Menashe were allowed in annually. Now is the time to act and bring as many of this community to Israel as possible. Now, while there is favor. The Bnei Menashe waiting in India are real people, experiencing very difficult circumstances while also being separated from family members already in Israel. It costs US $1,000 per person to bring them to Israel, and thousands are waiting. The US $1,000 covers airfare, transportation, visas, luggage and other expenses.
Rabbi Freund wrote to us asking for our help. “I would be grateful if you would pray over this request and consider partnering with Shavei Israel in this historic return of the Lost Tribe of Manasseh to its ancestral homeland. More than 25 centuries ago, the prophet Isaiah (11:12 NIV) foretold that the LORD ‘will raise a banner for the nations and gather the exiles of Israel.’ We are now witnessing those words come to pass.” We Christians are a holy nation (1 Peter 2:9). I believe we are the ones God is calling to bring the exiles of Israel home.
We have immediately sent a contribution of NIS 100,000 (US $29,000), which will pay the costs of 29 Bnei Menashe. Do you want to be part of God’s plan to bring them home? Your gift, no matter how large or small, will help us accomplish that.
Blessings from Israel,
Rebecca J. Brimmer
International President and CEO
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