Seven Jews Killed In Rocket Strike On Synagogue

(Photo by PRAKASH SINGH/AFP via Getty Images)

Ilan Hulkower Contributor
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Seven members of a Jewish Indian tribe were killed Monday in a rocket strike on their synagogue in Manipur due to a deadly inter-ethnic conflict.

The Jews belonged to the Bnei Menashe community in the Republic of India and the attack was presumed to have come from the Hindu majority Meitei ethnic group, The Times of Israel reported. (RELATED: Pro-Palestine Activists Cancel Plan To Storm Holocaust Museum After Outcry)

The Bnei Menashe are affiliated with the Catholic majority Kuki ethnic group and as such the targeting of them is not likely to be motivated by antisemitism, the outlet noted. Fighting between the two ethnic groups started in May of 2023 over land and public jobs, The Hindustan Times reported.

“Out of 5,000 Bnei Menashe, I would say at least half of them would be seriously impacted,” A retired governmental official told the Indian outlet. This would make this Bnei Menashe group the proportionally most affected by the violence.

But the retired official insisted to The Hindustan Times that “When a Kuki dies, they do not mention whether he’s of the Jewish community.” He did clarify that while Jews were collateral victims in this conflict, there were reports that some mobs chanted specifically anti-Jewish slogans that called on the community to “go back to Israel.”

The community claims that they are descendants of the Biblical tribe of Manasseh which was lost to history after the fall of the Kingdom of Israel to Assyria in 720 BCE, the outlet noted. Their claim to Judaism was recognized by Israel’s Sephardic chief rabbi Shlomo Amar in 2005, The Times of Israel reported. Some 5,000 Jews of the Bnei Menashe community have emigrated to Israel, with around 5,500 members still residing in India, the outlet noted.

This is not the first time that Bnei Menashe Jews were caught up in inter-ethnic violence. Back in May 2023, two synagogues were torched and one member of the community was confirmed to be killed, The Times of Israel reported.

All told this conflict has killed at least 180 persons since its inception, Reuters reported.