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The guards flit back and forth across the street, between the parking lot of an apartment complex that police say is notorious for drug-related crimes and a building with covered windows and a bolted front door.Behind that locked door is the Baltimore branch of the Israelite Church of God in Jesus Christ, a black supremacist sect headquartered in New York City.Since 2000, when the prophecy of a key leader failed to materialize (he predicted Christ would return to Earth at the dawn of the new millennium to wreak bloody vengeance on white people), the rhetoric of extremist Hebrew Israelites sects has been steadily heating up, with increasing talk of an impending apocalypse and God-ordained race war.At the same time, a magnetic young leader, who counts among his disciples the lead singer of a top-selling R&B group, emerged and rapidly expanded a movement that was previously concentrated in black inner-city neighborhoods on the East Coast.Members of the Black Hebrews community dance during festivities marking the Shavuot harvest festival in the southern Israeli town of Dimona,, May 26, 2013.
Despite their struggles for acceptance, the Black Hebrews established a fast growing community." Baltimore: The Grilling The streets of the West Baltimore neighborhood where the Israelite Church sanctuary is located are just as tough as they look on HBO's "The Wire," a cops-and-reporters crime series acclaimed for its realistic insights into urban life.In the middle of this scene, passersby on Franklin Street respectfully acknowledge the Israelite Church priests and their black-clad security men.The Black Hebrews’ path toward Israeli citizenship has been long and arduous.
Originally offered citizenship under the Law of Return in 1969, the community’s status later was challenged and revoked. As a result, Black Hebrews could not hold legal jobs, send their children to Israeli schools or utilize national health care services.While not officially recognized as Jewish, the Black Hebrews, as they are commonly known, make up a small subculture in Israel. Three weeks after the group’s first immigrants arrived in Israel from Chicago by way of Liberia, JTA reported that the community was “apparently getting along very well in their new environment,” although “their eventual status as immigrants remains undecided.” The report went on: Within three days of their arrival at Dimona all families found work at the nearby textile plants and in local shops and factories, according to the Jewish Agency. All of them have Hebrew names and have some knowledge of the Hebrew language.