Wednesday, July 18, 2007

An oasis of African-American soul in Israel's desert

A people who have pride and are able to point to certain successes that have been elusive for the African world
By Simona Kogan Israel21c



Deep in the heart of Israel's Negev desert, where you would expect to find mostly camels and sand, a community of expatriate black Americans has made a new life for itself in towns like Dimona, Arad and Mitzpe Ramon.

They call themselves the African Hebrew Israelites, but they are better known in Israel as the Black Hebrews, a 2,000-strong religious group dressed in colorful African prints made of natural fabrics like silk and linen according to their doctrine. And while it's taken most of the 40 years they've been residing in Israel to feel like part of the country, today Black Hebrews can be found in many facets of Israeli society - from the army to the entertainment industry.

"We are a people who have pride and are able to point to certain successes that have been elusive for the African world," says national spokesman Ahmadiel Ben-Yehuda, who lives in Dimona, but spent time in Ghana, South Africa, and other African locations studying African cultural connections and migration patterns.

The Black Hebrews movement originated in Chicago in 1966 when their leader Ben-Ami Ben-Yisrael, then a steel worker named Ben Carter, had a vision where the Archangel Gabriel revealed to him that African Americans were descended from the lost tribe of Judah. In 70 CE, the Israelites were exiled from Jerusalem by the Romans and ended up in West Africa where they were later transported to America as slaves.

See: An oasis of African-American soul in Israel's desert

5 comments:

Noland said...

Great to hear of this community of Brothers in the Holy Land !
But I have a question - I remember hearing of an Israelite organization prior to 1966 - in fact as early as the 1930's. I would like to know more about these early beginnings of this spiritual miracle. Please send it to my email -
noweh100@yahoo.com
Peace and many Blessings !

miginiel7 said...

A great testimony to a great people. We however must begin to teach the media vigorously to refrain from describing us as black. that is not who we are nor the state we are in.

miginiel7 said...

A great testimony to a great people that have identified themslves, shared the knowledge with others(people of color searching their origin) and continue to succeed through example in spirituality, NOT religion.

miginiel7 said...

We are not black, based on the definition, How could we possibly represent the most high and be black. its a contradiction. so lets stop using that word to describe ourselves now! Further correct those that don't know or choose to ignore the truth.

Anonymous said...

This is proof that "we" black american, africans in bondage whatever you want to call it need to leave or establish completely independent communities of our own, once we do that and fall in love with ourselves and begin to have a God centered life then we can deal with the rest of the world on equal terms. THe African Hebrew Israelites of Jerusalem are a miracle indeed. I hope to visit one day..