ben ammi

7

The African Hebrew Israelite Nation of Jerusalem (also known as The African Hebrew Israelites of Jerusalem or Black Hebrews or Black Hebrew Israelites) is a small spiritual group whose members believe they are descended from the Ten Lost Tribes of Israel. With a population of over 5,000, most members live in their own community in Dimona, Israel. Their immigrant ancestors were African Americans from Chicago, Illinois, who migrated to Israel in the late 1960s.

The group was founded in Chicago by a former steel worker named Ben Carter (b. 1939). In his early twenties Carter was given the name Ben Ammi by Rabbi Reuben of the Chicago Congregation of Ethiopian Hebrews.[3] Ben Ammi says that in 1966 he had a “vision,” in which theArchangel Gabriel[4] called him to take his people, African Americans, back to the Holy Land of Israel.[5]

Ammi and his followers draw on a long tradition in black American culture (see Black Hebrew Israelites) which holds that black Americans are the descendants of the Ancient Israelites (Ammi cites Charles Harrison Mason of Mississippi, William Saunders Crowdy of Virginia, Bishop William Boome of Tennessee, Charles Price Jones of Mississippi and Elder Saint Samuel of Tennessee as early exponents of black descent from Israelites).[6] Ammi claimed that the Israelites, after having been expelled from Jerusalem under the Romans, migrated to West Africa. They were later captured and transported to America as slaves.

They are influenced by the teachings of the Jamaican proponent of Black nationalismMarcus Garvey (1887–1940), and by the Black civil rights milieu in 1960s America, including figures such as the Black PanthersMartin Luther King and Malcolm X. From these they have incorporated elements of black separatism as well as the doctrine of repatriation of the African Diaspora to its ancestral lands in a “return to Africa”, of which they consider Israel to be a part.[7] Israel is claimed to be located in Northeastern Africa.[8]