Israeli History

A book by a Jewish scholar that has become a best seller in Israel shakes the foundation of the Jewish State by suggesting that the Palestinians are the actual descendants of the Biblical tribes. Comments anyone?

It’s certainly plausible that the “Palestinians” are descendent since 10 of the 12 tribes disappeared into history after Israel was destroyed by the Asyrians. And it’s also plausible that they were Judean descendants. Many Jews converted to Islam.

As for the claim that the Jews are not (mainly) descendent from Judeans, I think that’s more than a stretch.

More importantly, I think, is that whatever european genes might have found their way into modern Jews through intermarriage (it was common for Jewish men to take non-Jewish wives), modern Judaism is the cultural descendent of ancient Judaism.

Insofar as the Jewish claim to Israel is based on God’s promise to the Jews, that would seem to exclude those who converted to Islam who might happen to be of Jewish decent.

There have been some genetic studies of the Cohen families.

There’s nothing new in this. It has long been believed that what we think of as Jews are people who essentially share a culture and a religion and some genetic markers, but who are blended with Indo-Europeans and quite likely the Turkic Khazars. One might even question whether the original “Jews” were Semitic at all, notwithstanding linguistic similarities. Abraham, after all, came from what was originally a Sumerian (Indo-European) region. There is some scholarly belief that the Hebrews escaping from Egypt took everybody else similarly situated with them, of whatever origin.

But it can’t be denied that there are “Jewish” genetic markers, as they found them among that African tribe that claims to be Jewish.

Nor are Palestinians a single thing. Genetic testing performed by the National Geographic project has determined that Palestinians share genetic markers with Europeans, as well as others. They call themselves “Arabs”, but all you have to do is look at a photo of the Palestinian “street” and one from Saudi Arabia and you know in an instant they’re not the same people.

So many people have ruled and/or settled in Palestine over the millenia; Egyptians, Romans, Greeks, Hebrews, Hittites, Phoenecians, the “Sea People” (whoever they were), Arabs, Persians, Brits, Turks. On and on and on.

What is a Frenchman? Is he an Iberian? A Celt? A German? A Roman? An Avar? Some of all those things? Is an Italian a Roman, a Levantine, a Greek, a German, an Etruscan, what?

Barack Obama is half white, a good part Arab and a little bit black African. Is he an African-American? Is he “Black”?

I think it was Mustafa Kemal who said “Anyone who speaks Turkish and considers himself a Turk, is a Turk.” I think that’s about as good as self-identification gets. But such self-identifications are valid among those who so identify and have some basis for doing it. And so it is with the Jews.

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