When an Israeli ambassador lands up in the tribal states of the North East, a question about the fabled connection of the local tribes with the lost tribes of Israel is inevitable.
It was no surprise therefore that a curious journalist lobbed a query to the Ambassador of Israel to India, Ron Malka, wanting to know whether, in light of the recognition of the claims of some members of the Mizo tribe as being from the lost tribe of the Menashe this could also mean that the claims of a section of people hailing from the Khasi, Garo, some Naga tribes, among others of the region, would interest the government of Israel.
There was expectation in the air in the confines of the conference hall of Pinewood Hotel where the press conference was held following the question.
But before the ambassador could mull over this most interesting query, Chief Minister Conrad Sangma played spoilsport and intercepted the question by telling the reporters to confine their questions to the purpose of the ambassador’s visit to the State, which was to focus on agricultural exchanges.
So Malka left without much choice as his host did not seem to want this question replied.
The Israeli ambassador said, “We came with a delegation of experts to work, discuss and start a new way of development and we came to talk about agriculture, development of centres of excellence and other development challenges that we can share together with Meghalaya. So this is what we are focusing on today.”
For many, this answer gave them a hope that there is a possibility that he could be willing to talk about it another day.
Every so often the theory linking North Eastern tribes to the ancient Israelites comes up, fuelled by random writings.
The most recent of these was a booklet written by Rev. G R Mawblei, entitled ‘Ki Khasi: Ka Tynrai ki Israel’, which was released in 2017.
In the book Rev. Mawblei quoted from an early Welsh missionary’s writings wherein the latter said that the culture, beliefs and traditions of the Khasi tribe hold many similarities with those of the ancient Israelites.
The speculative thesis of these mysterious kinds is enticing and allures many thinkers in these hills. But perhaps the reporters will have to email the ambassador for his answer.