It is April 27, 2021, and just as it seemed life in Israel was returning to some form of normalcy, the Ministry of the Interior announces its intention to deport about 600 of our people who have never received any official status from the land! We are speaking of people some of whom have been here 20-30 years and children who were born and grew up in this land and this is the only home they know!
The news should not come as a shock to anyone who has been here long enough to watch the cat and mouse game between the Israeli government and the community play out over the years. This situation has been festering far too long and was inevitably going to come to a head and burst.
How did we arrive at this point?
When the first group of 39 arrived at Ben Gurion airport in August of 1969, they were somewhat expected and welcomed as new Jewish immigrants. This was because Brother Hezkhiyahu (Charles Blackwell) had been left here the year before by then Brother Ben Ammi to begin the process of absorption under the then law of return. He lived on Kibbutz Bar Am and received legal papers allowing him access to all the social services of the country and to pave the way for those who were to follow.
He had told the immigration services that there were others like himself who wanted to come to Israel, and they were happy to begin the process of welcoming what they assumed to be the arrival of more new Jewish immigrants. They were surprised by the number of new arrivals but received them and sent them to various locations to begin their absorption.
However, once all the members had left Liberia and been placed in Israel, we declared that we were actually Israelites of the house of Israel and not Jewish, and that the law of return applied to us as Israelites without the need to convert to Judaism! This is when the problems began; the authorities wanted us to convert, and we were adamant that there was no need for Israelites to covert to Judaism.
Because of this, the law of return was changed in 1970 to only apply to Jews and we found ourselves isolated on the fringes of Israeli society without official status except for Prince Hezkhiyahu. Everyone else was here illegally, as were all subsequent arrivals who came and overstayed their tourist visas. To prevent deportations, we renounced our American citizenship. This was the situation until 1986, when the government began deporting our people, beginning with some of those working at a fruit packing facility. This was made possible by an agreement between the Israeli and American governments for the Americans to accept back those deported in spite of their lack of official American citizenship.
Our response was “The Day of a Show of Strength”; a large majority of the community members were assembled in Dimona with the intent of marching to Jerusalem, men women and children, in protest of the deportations. The assembly alarmed the Israeli authorities to such an extent that tanks were brought in and snipers posted on the roof tops of buildings surrounding the Kifar where our people were assembled!
When Rabbi Ben Ammi came out to lead the march, he beheld the forces that were amassed against us and instead stood on the roof of one of the bomb shelters and declared that he saw the evil intent in the eyes and on the faces of those arrayed around us, but we would not give them the opportunity to satisfy that blood lust, no, not this day! Not because we are afraid- for if the trumpet sounds and the word is given- we will march and put our lives in the hands of Yahwah! But the trumpet has yet to sound, therefore, we will wait! We will fast in the meantime to show our God our faith in Him, and we will wait!
And we waited and we fasted, and on the third day the Israeli authorities came and asked how the impasse could be settled!
We agreed to take back our American citizenship and received temporary residency, which would become permanent after 5 years and citizenship 5 years after that, which mostly happened. However, there were other agreements that were intended to limit our numbers and the ability of others to join us. But people still came, and visas were still overstayed…and today the price is being paid.
We failed to pursue the truth that really was expressed in the original law of return; that Israel is the inheritance and home of the whole family of Jacob, which was subtly expressed in Israel’s Declaration of Independence. The animosity that we felt at that time coming out of the civil rights movement of the 60’s with the deaths of Dr. King and Malcolm still fresh in our minds and a fire in our hearts, did not allow us to be conciliatory towards “white people”, and we put up walls that have taken years to break down.
Rabbi Ben Ammi admitted that mistakes were made in those early days, because we had an abundance of zeal and very little sense about how to build what we came to establish. In later years he termed the establishment of the state of Israel in 1948 as “an act of providence/God) and admonished us to view our Israeli neighbors as family. Age had mellowed his passion and sharpened his understanding.
So, now, we must first understand for ourselves the importance of our presence here as the House of Israel; this was the primary reason for our return to this land, i.e., to reclaim our national identity as Hebrew Israelites. We must know that prophetically there cannot be an “Israel” without the seed of Joseph present. We must know the promises given by the prophets of Israel of the return of the two houses that YHWH has chosen and their inevitable reunification. And we must cause our Israeli brothers and sisters to recall the truth of those promises and feel comfortable in accepting them.
We must challenge them to accept these truths and us as the embodiment of the fulfilling of the promises to Joseph by the God of Israel, that He would bring back Joseph’s seed from exile and captivity just as he did that of Judah!
14 Thus saith YHWH: A voice is heard in Ramah, lamentation, and bitter weeping, Rachel weeping for her children; she refuseth to be comforted for her children, because they are not.
15 Thus saith YHWH: Refrain thy voice from weeping, and thine eyes from tears; for thy work shall be rewarded, saith YHWH; and they shall come back from the land of the enemy.
The children of Mother Rachel were Joseph and Benyamin, yet she is a beloved Matriarch of the Jewish people, whose tomb is visited by thousands each year. They must acknowledge her son and his seed in today’s society as well! We are not a cult nor a sect of Black, wannabe Jews living in Israel, we are the first-born of the God of Israel returned to our Father’s promised land!
8 They shall come with weeping, and with supplications will I lead them; I will cause them to walk by rivers of waters, in a straight way wherein they shall not stumble; for I am become a father to Israel, and Ephraim is My first-born.
11 For thus saith YHWH GOD: Behold, here am I, and I will search for My sheep, and seek them out.
12 As a shepherd seeketh out his flock in the day that he is among his sheep that are separated, so will I seek out My sheep; and I will deliver them out of all places whither they have been scattered in the day of clouds and thick darkness.
13 And I will bring them out from the peoples, and gather them from the countries, and will bring them into their own land; and I will feed them upon the mountains of Israel, by the streams, and in all the habitable places of the country.
30 And they shall know that I YHWH their God am with them, and that they, THE HOUSE OF ISRAEL, are My people, saith YHWH GOD.
31 And ye My sheep, the sheep of My pasture, are men, and I am your God, saith YHWH GOD.'
There must be a new agreement based on these Truths!