"The Black Hebrews" is about to get its own piece of the Holy Land
by Avida Landau
The South African Star
Four decades after they heard what they call an angel's order to leave the United States and move to Israel, a vegan community popularly known as "the Black Hebrews" is about to get its own piece of the Holy Land.
Identifying themselves as African Hebrew Israelites, 300 African-Americans arrived in 1969 in the sleepy desert town of Dimona, claiming to be descendants of the ancient Israelites and wanting a right to settle in the Jewish state.
Despite observing Jewish holidays and practices, they were never recognised as Jews by Israeli authorities, but were allowed to remain. Their legal status has been resolved and the government granted them Israeli residency.
But fire services warned that their homes in the small government-owned compound - which they call the "Village of Peace" - may be a fire hazard. So Dimona Mayor Meir Cohen and the government decided to give the community of 3 000 Hebrews their own tract of land.
On their new property, they hope to build tourist attractions such as a wellness resort, health treatment clinics and restaurants, all reflecting the community's lifestyle.
See: Black Hebrews finally get a chance to explore life