By Laura Fernandez Palomo
Dimona, Israel, Oct 4 (EFE).- Despite living in Israel since the 1980s, Cynthia Clark, a member of the Black Hebrew community who left the United States for Israel, may have to leave the country due to an overdue deportation order.
But her seven children are allowed to stay, including Atayah Ross who acquired Israeli citizenship after having served in the army.
“What I feel is that they discriminate against our way of life because we do not practice Judaism in the way that they think we should, or that we do not conform to the standards,” Clark tells Efe.
The African-Americans began to migrate to Israel in 1969 as descendants of the ancient Israelite tribe of Judah, but the Israeli Chief Rabbinate does not consider them Jews, which strips them of their right to stay.
Dawn Hercules, who arrived in the 1990s, has received a deportation order but, unlike Clark, she will have to take her eight children with her, including 23-year-old Yahletal.
“I was born and raised here. This is all I know. Israel is my home,” says Yahletal, a young woman who has not been able to cross another border due to her irregular situation.
From her home in Dimona in southern Israel, Hercules explains they are invisible in the eyes of the state.
About 3,000 members of this vegan community that practices Judaism reside in Israel and consider themselves descendants of one of the 12 Israeli tribes, named after the sons of biblical Jacob.
“Our songs are about the Jordan River, not the Niger River; we sing to Jericho, Jerusalem, and the Canaanites, not to Mali or Tombuctu,” says Ahmadiel Ben Yehuda, a community spokesperson, defending the musical culture through which he claims they managed to maintain their identity in the United States.