Dozens of families from a breakaway faction of the Black Hebrews movement were told this week that they have 60 days to leave Israel, or face forced explosion.
Some 3,000 African Americans affiliated with the Black Hebrews movement have lived in Israel since the late 1960s and early 1970s. Having broken away from the main Black Hebrews sect, they began coming to Israel as tourists, but never left.
They claim to be part of the Ten Lost Tribes of Israel, but have failed to present evidence compelling enough to win them citizenship rights. Over the years, some members of the community, which largely resides in the Negev town of Dimona, have been granted temporary and permanent residency status. A handful have become citizens.
But according to Israel’s Ministry of Interior, the bulk of the Black Hebrews are living in the country illegally, and must leave.