Israel: October 21, 2002


10.0pt"> Historians have often wondered where the "Ten Lost Tribes of Israel" ended up after they were carried away by Assyrian conquerors 2,750 years ago. Some scholars claim to have found groups in isolated areas of Asia (as far away as China and India) which maintain some old Jewish traditions. Some scoff at the idea, saying that these groups have adopted Jewish customs only in the last twenty years in order to get a free trip to Israel, along with a better house and a real job. And the Israeli government is starting to accept at least some of these groups, and is studying and testing others. A few hundred from India have been resettled in Israel, and a million more could follow from India and Central Asia. The Israelis want to use immigrants to replace the Palestinians who cross the Green Line to work in Israel, and to bolster their numbers against the faster growing Palestinian population.--Stephen V Cole


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