COVID-19: For Mizoram’s lost Jews, ‘promised land’ and kin seem farther away

This small community called Bnei Menashe — numbering around 7,000 — considers itself to be descendants of the mythical ‘Lost Tribe’ of Israel — Menashe | Photo - Shavei Israel/Twitter

Jeremia Hnamte and his wife live in Zuangtui locality of Aizawl but their heart, soul and mind are in Israel. Jeremia spends hours on video calls and WhatsApp chat to remain connected with his daughter, mother and siblings, all of whom have long migrated to Israel to revive what they perceive as their umbilical link with the “holy land” that was snapped even before Jesus Christ was born.

According to Jeremia, things looked quite grim in April as his relatives kept him posted about the rising COVID-19 cases in Israel. The number of new cases in this West Asian country then dipped and the curve had almost flattened in May, but it has started to rise again from June.

In Mizoram, like the other north-eastern states which were by and large insulated from the deadly virus till a month ago, it is now spreading its tentacles. The latest tally put the number of positive cases in the state at 101 as of June 11.

To stem further spread of the virus, the state government last week extended the “total lockdown” until June 22. Chief Minister Zoramthanga said a complete lockdown is the best antidote to prevent the spread of the disease.

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