Requests for Secrecy and No Tenders: Inside the Monopoly Bringing a ‘Lost Tribe’ to Israel

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Members of the Bnei Menashe community at Ben-Gurion Airport in pre-COVID times.
Members of the Bnei Menashe community at Ben-Gurion Airport in pre-COVID times.Credit: Ilan Assayag
Judy Maltz
Judy Maltz
Judy Maltz
Judy Maltz

A private organization that brings members of “lost tribes” of Jews to Israel was recently awarded a nearly 10-million-shekel government (almost $3.1 million) contract, despite complaints of serious abuse of power by many of the prospective and new immigrants it was meant to help.

Shavei Israel won the contract from the Aliyah and Integration Ministry without having to go through the usual tender requirements. The ministry had asked that its dealings with Shavei be kept secret – a request denied by the treasury. A spokesman for the ministry did not respond to a question about why the request for secrecy had been made.

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