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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

2017-11-17 Middle East

Exclusive: From Tehran to Najaf, a pilgrimage fraught with danger

It’s one of the most dangerous pilgrimages in the world. Every year, despite the deadly menace of the Islamic State group, millions of Shiites make a pilgrimage to southern Iraq,...

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2017-11-09 Europe

Full circle: The second life of old clothes abroad

Our reporters investigated what happens to old clothes thrown out by Westerners. For several months, our team followed the trail of recycled clothes - from initial collection...

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2017-11-03 Asia-pacific

Exclusive report: Burma in denial over Rohingya crisis

Burma’s northern Rakhine state is on lockdown. In recent weeks, violence has forced hundreds of thousands of minority Muslim Rohingyas to flee to Bangladesh. FRANCE 24’s regional...

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2017-10-27 Middle East

Video: The story of a deadly air strike in Iraq’s Mosul

For more than three years, the US-led coalition has been using air strikes to help Iraqi troops retake territory from Islamic State group jihadists. But some are now tallying the...

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2017-10-20 Asia-pacific

The Dictator's Games: A rare look inside Turkmenistan

As Turkmenistan hosted the Asian Games in the capital Ashgabat, our reporter managed to obtain a visa to cover the event. He brings us a rare look inside one of the world’s most...

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