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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

2017-06-23 Culture

The birth of a film industry: Hollywood and World War I

As we mark the centenary of the United States entering World War I, FRANCE 24 brings you a documentary on the birth of Hollywood. Our journalist Florence Gaillard sheds new light...

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2013-04-26 Bashar al-Assad

Syria: Aleppo’s tales of war

Two years into the revolution, Aleppo’s resistance shows no sign of letting up. France 24 brings you a portrait of the rebels who refuse to abandon their city to Bashar al-Assad....

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2017-06-16 Europe

Modern-day slaves: Europe's fruit pickers

Every year in southern Europe, five million tonnes of fruit and vegetables are harvested for supermarket shelves. But those supermarkets are seeking ever lower prices, and are...

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2017-06-08 Asia-pacific

Video: Millions of single Chinese men desperately seeking a wife

In China, the one-child policy has wreaked havoc. By encouraging the birth of boys rather than girls, an imbalance of the sexes has emerged. China now counts far more men than...

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2017-06-01 Americas

Exclusive: The war for Brazil’s superhighway of drugs

Manaus, the capital of Brazil’s northern Amazonas state, has increasingly become the scene of violent confrontations between gangs. Located near the Colombian border, the city...

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