This thriving community serves as a model for communities around the world
By Mario Starks
The African Hebrew Israelites of Jerusalem, also known as the Kingdom of Yah, arrived in Dimona, Israel, in 1969. This new community in Israel consisted originally of African-Americans who first migrated from America to Liberia (West Africa) during the heightened Pan-African movement of the 60s and was founded by Ben Ammi Ben-Israel.
While in Liberia, the group settled and purged themselves of the negative mental and physical conditions that were present in their former home. After their settlement period in Liberia, the small community made plans to migrate onward, making the last and final portion of their journey home to Israel - land which they consider geographically a part of Northeast Africa.
The group's lifestyle places great emphasis on diet, spirituality and family. They maintain a vegan diet and exercise frequently. The community harvests its own food, administer their own schools, and operate their own hospital, a pre-natal/post-natal care facility.
One notable achievement that has attracted the attention of scientist and health practitioners is the undisputed status of good health that exists among the community's residents. For example, "a medical study conducted in Dimona by US university researchers in 1998 found the community was largely free of illnesses typical to African-Americans such as hypertension, obesity and high cholesterol" reports Avida Landau of the South African Star newspaper.
Doctors found that only 6 percent of those in the vegan Dimona community suffered from high blood pressure, compared to 30 percent of black men and women in America. Further, only 5 percent of the African Israelite community were obese, compared to 32 percent of the black community in America (study from 1998). Proper health and habits that they believe serve the well-being of the community are emphasized.
The African Hebrew Israelites continue to expand their presence throughout the world with community centers and their own chain of vegan restaurants in Israel, Ghana, US Virgin Islands, and throughout the United States (Chicago, Houston, Washington DC, Atlanta, St. Louis, Cleveland, Tallahassee, Charleston, Vicksburg).
See: Black Hebrews Establish Village of Peace in Israel