There are, however, other groups of people who have claimed an affiliation with the ancient Israelites. Some claim such affiliation either via a claim of membership with the Jewish people, other groups claim such affiliation independently.
While many groups have been able to prove their Jewish connection and membership, other groups have not yet done so. Many groups that have recently been accepted as parts of missing tribes, were not accepted only a few years ago. The process of locating the lost descendants of Israel, is both complicated and time consuming.
The following list compiles some of the groups whose altogether existence or re-emergence has either come to the knowledge of the wider networked Jewish community in the last hundred or so years, or whose existence was known but where no formal interaction existed (as limited as it sometimes may have been even within the network). They are divided into those whose claims have been confirmed, and those who have not yet been, and among these, those accepted as Jews and those that are not.
The Bene Israel claim a lineage to the kohanim, the Israelite priestly class, which claims descent from Aaron, the brother of Moses. In 2002, a DNA test confirmed that the Bene Israel share the same heredity as the Cohanim.
Some sources say that the earliest Jews were those who settled in the Malabar coast during the reign of Solomon, and after the Kingdom of Israel split into two. They are sometimes referred to as the "black Jews." The Paradesi Jews, also called "White Jews," settled later, coming to India from Middle Eastern and European nations such as Holland and Spain, and bringing with them the Ladino language. A notable settlement of Spanish and Portuguese Jews (Sephardim) starting in the 15th century was at Goa, but this settlement eventually disappeared. In the 17th and 18th centuries, Cochin received an influx of Jewish settlers from the Middle East, North Africa and Spain.
Jews came to Kerala and settled there as early as 700 BCE in order to trade. An old, but not particularly reliable, tradition says that Cochin Jews came in mass to Cranganore (an ancient port, near Cochin) after the destruction of the Temple in 70 CE They had, in effect, their own principality for many centuries until a chieftainship dispute broke out between two brothers in the 15th century. The dispute led neighboring princes to dispossess them. In 1524, the Muslims, backed by the ruler of Calicut (today called Kozhikode), attacked the Jews of Cranganore on the pretext that they were tampering with the pepper trade. Most Jews fled to Cochin and went under the protection of the Hindu Raja there. He granted them a site for their own town that later acquired the name "Jew Town" (by which it is still known).
Unfortunately for the Cochin Jews, the Portuguese occupied Cochin during this same period and they indulged in persecution of the Jews until the Dutch displaced them in 1660. The Dutch Protestants were tolerant, and the Jews prospered. In 1795 Cochin passed into the British sphere of influence. In the 19th century, Cochin Jews lived in the towns of Cochin, Ernakulam, Aluva and Parur.
They couldn’t settle in Afghanistan, so from there they headed east until they reached the area of the Tibetan-Chinese border. They finally settled in China in 231 BCE.
This is when they realized that they probably should have stayed in Afghanistan, because the Chinese were extremely cruel to them and enslaved them. A sizable portion of them managed to escape and went into hiding from the Chinese in mountainous areas called Sinlung, which later became another name for the Tribe of Menashe. Another name that they are commonly called are "cave people" or "mountain people". They were in hiding for two generations, during which they lived in extreme poverty, having almost no personal belongings, although they kept the Torah Scroll with them the whole time. Gradually, they started to come out of hiding, and they eventually started assimilating and picking up Chinese influences, however, because of their morbid experiences in China, they decided to leave. They set out west, through Thailand and eventually reached Mandalay, a city in Myanmar. From there they reached the Chin Mountains. In the 18th century a part of them migrated to Mizoram and Manipur which are located in North-East India.
However, with the arrival of Christian missionaries in the area, the whole community was converted to Christianity and all of their written history was destroyed. Today, there are an estimated 2 million people who can be considered Bnei Menashe, however, only about 9,000 of them returned to Judaism.
The Bene Ephraim trace their observance of Judaism back to ancient times, and recount a history similar to that of the Bnei Menashe in the northeastern Indian states of Mizoram and Manipur. They adopted Christianity after the arrival of Baptist missionaries around the beginning of the 19th century.
Since 1981, about 50 families around Kottareddipalem and Ongole (capital of the nearby district of Prakasham) have learned Judaism, learned Hebrew, and have sought recognition from other Jewish communities around the world. Because of the very recent re-ëmergence of this community, and also because of the current overwhelming emphasis on the use of Hebrew as a living language, rather than merely as a liturgical language, the impact of Hebrew on the daily speech of this community has not led to the development, as yet, of a distinctly identifiable "Judæo-Telugu" language or dialect. (See Jewish languages.)
The community has been visited over the years, by several groups of rabbis, who have thus far not seen fit to extend the same recognition to this community as that recently extended to the Bnei Menashe.
Shortly before the destruction of Jerusalem, the Book of Mormon reports that Lehi escaped with his family, along with his friend Ishmael and his family, and another man named Zoram (). Together, Lehi led them south down the Arabian Peninsula until they reached a fertile coastal region they named Bountiful (). There, they built a ship, and sailed across the ocean to the Americas(). Lehi's sons Nephi and Laman are said to have established themselves and to have founded Israelite nations: the Nephites and the Lamanites ().
The Palestinian town of Khirbet Beit Lei ("The Ruin of the House of Lei") is purported to be the location of the ancient home of Lehi, although there is only problematic and circumstantial evidence to support it. Very few FARMS scholars and Mormonism historians will definitively tie the two together because of the lack of evidence.