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Latest update : 2017-02-24

Video: India’s Kuki people, possible descendants of one of Israel's lost tribes

In northeastern India, a small ethnic group claims to be one of the lost tribes of Israel. The fervour of the Kuki people has persuaded the Chief Rabbi of Israel to approve their immigration to the Promised Land. Kuki men are traditionally fighters, so once in Israel most of them become soldiers, while their wives try to adjust to their new lives in the settlements.

Our reporters travelled to the valleys of West Bengal, where India meets Bangladesh and Burma, home of the mysterious Kuki tribe. These Asian Jews say they were forced into exile in this remote valley almost 27 centuries ago. Today, they practice an archaic Judaism and claim to be one of the lost tribes of Israel referred to in the Old Testament, a little like the Ethiopian Falashas.

Tensions have grown in recent years with the Indian and Burmese governments and for the Kuki people, the lure of a better future in Israel is stronger than ever. In recent years, some of them have been able to emigrate to Israel and make Aliyah. The men, who are traditionally fierce fighters, often join the Israeli army, while their families find a new home in the occupied West Bank settlements. Our Middle East correspondent went to meet some of those who have left everything behind for a new life in the Promised Land.

>> Also watch our report: "French citizens making Aliyah face challenge of new life"

By Cyril PAYEN , Didier GRUEL , Robin STAMLER

Archives

2017-05-18 Asia-pacific

Video: India's battle against 'superbugs'

It’s the gravest healthcare threat facing humanity. The World Health Organization has estimated that antibiotic resistance, or ‘superbugs’ as these bacteria have come to be...

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2017-05-12 Middle East

How natural gas could be a geopolitical game-changer in the Mideast

It's a discovery that could easily shake up the geopolitical order in the Middle East. Deep under the eastern Mediterranean lies the largest natural gas basin ever found on...

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2017-05-04 Asia-pacific

Forced into exile: The plight of the Rohingyas

There are more than 1.3 million Rohingya people in the world. Although they have lived in Burma for more than two centuries, this Muslim minority is not among those officially...

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2017-04-28 Spain

The booming business of cannabis in Spain

In Spain, thanks to the success of the "clubs" that have cropped up since 2011, cannabis has become a gold mine. From by-products such as cannabis lollipops and drinks, to...

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2017-04-21 France

Battle to stop nuclear waste being buried in a French village

The village of Bure, in eastern France, has become a battleground for environmentalists. It has been chosen as a site to bury radioactive waste, 500 metres underground. An...

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