“As a direct result of their disobedience to the laws and commandments of God, the ancient Hebrew Israelites were held captive by various nations including the Egyptians, Assyrians and Babylonians. In 70 C.E. the remnants of The African Hebrew Israelites were driven from Jerusalem by the Romans into different parts of the world, including Africa. Many Hebrew Israelites migrated to West Africa where they, once again, were carried away captive – this time by Europeans on slave ships – to the Americas along with other African tribes people.
In 1966 our spiritual leader, Ben Ammi, had a vision that it was time for the Children of Israel who remained in America (the land of their captivity) to return to the Holy Land (the land of their origin).
In 1967, after almost two thousand years in the Diaspora, four hundred Hebrew Israelites were inspired by the spirit of God to make an exodus from America. According to plan, they settled in Liberia’s interior to purge themselves of the negative attributes they had acquired in the captivity. After spending a two-and-one-half year period in Liberia, The African Hebrew Israelites were prepared to make the last portion of their journey home, returning to Israel in 1969.”
“We do not subscribe to any religion because religions have only divided men. We regard the true worship of God as a continuous process: 24 hours a day… 7 days a week.”
“Our customs are different from yours. We believe only in the Torah, not
what was added later. What man has the right to add anything to the Torah.”
— Ben Israel on the difference between Jews and Hebrews, quoted in an essay by Merrill Singer (“Symbolic Identity Formation in an African American Religious Sect”)
“The community considers its leader, Ben Ammi, to be the messiah and view themselves as locked in an apocalyptic struggle with the forces of evil. In this struggle the Hebrew Israelites play a biblically ordained, redemptive role and will eventually gather in the righteous to Jerusalem… The Hebrew Israelites characterize their history in biblical terms and depict their journey from the ghettos of the United States to Israel as a reenactment of the ancient Israelites’ Exodus from Egypt.”
— Ethan Michaeli, “Another Exodus”
The role of race has changed in today’s Black Hebrew beliefs. Ethnicity and race no longer indicate Hebrew Israelite ancestry, nor do all Hebrew Israelites claim direct Israelite ancestry. Today’s community has non-black members.