Ben Ammi Ben-Israel

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Ben Ammi Ben-Israel (Hebrew: בן עמי בן-ישראל‎) (born October 12, 1939 as Ben Carter in the United States of America) is the Israeli founder and spiritual leader of the African Hebrew Israelites of Jerusalem.


Ben Ammi grew up in Chicago. A co-worker introduced him to the idea that African Americans are descendants of the Biblical Israelites. In his early twenties Carter was given the name Ben Ammi Ben-Israel by Rabbi Reuben of the Congregation of Ethopian Hebrews.[1] In 1963 Ben Ammi founded the A-Beta Hebrew Israel Cultural Center in Chicago in an attempt to organize the varied Black Hebrew Israelite groups in the city.[1]

In 1966, Ben Ammi claims to have received a vision from the angel Gabriel.[2] In the vision, he claimed he was instructed to: "Lead the children of Israel among African Americans to the promised land, and establish the long-awaited Kingdom of God."[3] His followers consider him to be the messiah.[4]

In 1967, Ben Ammi led 350 of his followers to Liberia.After two and a half years, many had lost faith and returned home. At this point he decided to send five families to Israel. Ben Ammi and more of his followers arrived in the ensuing months, settling in Dimona.[3] The group received some resistance from Israeli authorities, who questioned their right to settle in Israel under the Law of Return. In the 1990s the group was granted temporary resident status and, in 2003, permanent residency.[2]

Awards and recognition[edit]

In March 2010, Ben Ammi received a Lifetime Achievement Award in Ghana, West Africa. This award is given out by the Ghanaian Country Awards Council. At the ceremony, the Country Director of CACG (Country Awards Council Ghana) stated that Ben Ammi "has helped bridged the gap between spirituality and development like no other leader before in global history, in the process creating new and progressive options for successfully building communities and projects based on enduring righteous, African cultural principles."[5]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b Eugene V. Gallagher; W. Michael Ashcraft (1 October 2006). Introduction to New and Alternative Religions in America [Five Volumes]. Greenwood Publishing Group. p. 4. ISBN 978-0-313-05078-7. Retrieved 10 January 2013. 
  2. ^ a b Margaret Puskar-Pasewicz (16 September 2010). Cultural Encyclopedia of Vegetarianism. ABC-CLIO. p. 13. ISBN 978-0-313-37556-9. Retrieved 10 January 2013. 
  3. ^ a b Anthony B. Pinn; Stephen C. Finley; Torin Alexander (10 September 2009). African American Religious Cultures. ABC-CLIO. p. 112. ISBN 978-1-57607-470-1. Retrieved 10 January 2013. 
  4. ^ Martina Könighofer (2008). The New Ship of Zion: Dynamic Diaspora Dimensions of the African Hebrew Israelites of Jerusalem. LIT Verlag Münster. p. 32. ISBN 978-3-8258-1055-9. Retrieved 10 January 2013. 
  5. ^ "Country Awards Council Ghana has Honoured H. E. Dr Ben Ammi ---With Lifetime Achievements Award in Accra". March 16, 2010. Retrieved January 10, 2013. 

External links[edit]

Further reading[edit]