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Beliefnet News

Jews, Palestinians have close genetic ties, say researchers

As many as 90 percent of Palestinians in some areas have close genetic ties to Jews, according to researchers.

Ariella Oppenheim Ph.D., a researcher at Hebrew University and the Hadassah Medical School labs, has published the result of DNA studies which show that both the Palestinians and Jews are descended from the Kurds of Iraq and Turkey.

That should astonish no one since both the Bible and the Koran say the Jews and Arabs are descended from a common ancestor, an ancient Caldean who the Koran calls Ibrahim. The Bible says he was named Abraham.

Perhaps more surprising, Oppenheim found the Ashkenazi Jews from Europe are genetically closer to the Palestinians than Middle East Jews.

Oppenheim also isolated and traced the chromosome for the “priestly” Cohen line.


“We find that Arabs also carry this chromosome,” she noted in a documentary film, which claims that some Palestinians are also Cohens, genetically.

The Palestinian city of Yatta, located south of Hebron in the West Bank, has a population of 50,000 to 60,000 people. The Israeli documentary states that 90 percent of the town has Jewish roots.

Furthermore, many of them practice ancient customs that are very Jewish.

“In some of the dry and dusty Palestinian and Bedouin villages, they still circumcise their boys after the seventh day,” writes Mark Ellis on the website “Godreports.” Hidden away in some Palestinian homes are Jewish mezuzahs and tefillin. Some older residents can recall lighting candles on the Sabbath.


“Many of the Palestinians know it, but it’s not politically correct to acknowledge this publicly among Muslims,” says Steve Hagerman, founder of Turkish World Outreach. “There are two houses of Israel in the Holy Land: one aligned with the West and primarily secular or Jewish and the other aligned with the East and primarily Islam.”

Anyone who is familiar with Hebrew history should not be surprised by the DNA results. After all, the Bible records that after King Solomon’s death, the Kingdom of Israel split into northern and southern kingdoms. When the northern kingdom of Israel was conquered and taken into captivity by the Assyrians in 745-702 B.C., most were sent to the east — never to return, Hagerman notes.


Centuries later after some from the southern kingdom returned from captivity in Babylon, they were dispersed throughout the world again through the Roman conquest — with many Jews carried away as slaves or choosing to flee the Holy Land.

“Many of the people in southern and central Italy are of Jewish origin, because so many slaves were carried away by the Romans to big estates in southern Italy,” reports Haterman.

Documentary filmmaker Nissim Mossek quotes Rabbi Dov Stein who claims, “It becomes clear that a significant part of the Arabs in the land of Israel are actually descendants of Jews who were forced to convert to Islam over the centuries. There are studies which indicate that 85% of this group is of Jewish origin.


Oppenheim’s genetic studies seem to confirm that connection.

Mossek filmed a Palestinian home where the Jewish mezuzah was hidden under a shelf, and the tefillin are hidden among the socks in a dresser. A mezuzah is a parchment of scripture placed on the doorpost by religious Jews. Tefillin, also known as phylacteries, are a set of small boxes containing scrolls of parchment inscribed with scripture, which are worn by observant Jews during morning prayers.

A Palestinian woman interviewed on the program says, “That is how I pray and everyone keeps the secret.”

“Will your little boy find out he is Jewish? an interviewer asks.

“He will find out eventually,” she says.

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  • oferdesade

    … and those who aren’t are descendants of laborers imported by the turks to build their railway.

  • http://AddaURLtothiscomment ousmane

    European jews are not related to the original hebrew people at all…… this report is a fraud…

  • Henry Butterfield

    Oh, so its a “family feud.” Should have known all along. I think I prefer the game show.

  • Peter Germain

    maybe the ppl behind the civil war is not Israel but Babylon ?

  • Pingback: The true history of the country of Palestine | altahrir, news of Islam, Muslims, Arab Spring and special Palestine

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  • Cchimudccha

    All life on Earth is related. If you’ve own a pet for long enough, and paid attention, you’ll discover that there is less and less difference between how they behave and how we behave, and how much familial love is shared between ‘man’ and animal. Man is an animal, and the animal is a man. There is little difference.

  • Pingback: The Country Of Palestine. | L8in

  • Henry Butterfield

    That’s bringing me down. I need to think My opinions mean more than my Chihuahuas.

  • Henry Butterfield

    All kinds of spins, in any argument. For example, in America we still don’t know what marriage and torture mean. Working on that. Just a glitch in advanced civility. And, in any case, as in the past, if you don’t believe us we will destroy you. We are therefore different than cave men.

  • Cchimudccha

    I shouldn’t bring you down. Have you ever asked your dog’s, or even listened to his opinion on ANYTHING? And in the greater cosmic universe of creature opinion, what makes your opinion even matter? It matters for naught. Nada. Zip.

  • Cchimudccha

    Could be Southern slave owners, or, more likely, wannabe slave owners.

  • Cchimudccha

    Henry, you are grossly underestimating the intellectual capacity of your ancestors. You probably haven’t a clue where to find the proper stone to make an axe, nor how to make an effective stone tool with equivalent utility.

  • Henry Butterfield

    I agree. “Life is but a dream.” They taught me to sing that when I was a child. It’s a song called, “Row, Row, Row Your Boat.” I sing it to this day. American Zen.

  • Henry Butterfield

    Point taken. Then I will simply have to begin living on discarded pigeon parts, bottled water, and do it in style.

  • John Juster

    Brothers, don’t you know. From Cain and Abel, Jacob and Esau, and now (mis)using religion as feudal opposites, which greatly serves an underlying agenda. This you should know too.

    But sure, gang on another gang warfare is so disingenuous and so easy! I can only remark on how sold-out to the news stories the same channel Family Feud surely airs.

  • John Juster

    Cchimudccha, I agree, but use an ever better name we all possess.


    Now, some Beings don’t like to think other Beings are as important as them.

    Hence the divisive divisions to judge one another accordingly. Here, it’s between animals and humans. Another time it’s between classes, races, colors, political beliefs, sexual orientation, religious beliefs (and non-beliefs), all those nice dividing factors all up and down our twisted human existence.

    We are Beings, as one and all. No ifs, ands or buts, but for the lame and their pathetic excuses for superiority over another.

  • Yougo

    Henry, I’m certain your Chihuahua thinks his opinion means more than yours. I happen to agree with him. So there you have it. But don’t feel bad, he feels the same way about my opinion, too.

  • Henry Butterfield

    I’d be curious to learn more about this, ahem, “agenda.”

  • Henry Butterfield

    In addendum to aforesaid, I do not own a dog. And happily, a dog does not own me. Nor am I married.

  • Henry Butterfield

    Yet another answer: Your opinion as to whether my opinion has value is, per your definition, “nada.” Hell, even if I say my own opinion is worthless, that’s still just my opinion. Might as well embrace my pathologies. I mean, since its all “zip.”

  • Yonit Gefen

    There are positive things that could come out of this. BUT there are also barriers as follows (1) Many forced converts assimilate and strongly support the religion they converted to, especially after generations. Israeli Jews will not repeat the actions of Islam and force anybody to convert (2) Vestigal customs such as using teffilin or lighting Sabbath candles or having texts do not necessarily imply an emotional attachment to Judaism. There are many descendants of forced converts from the Spanish expulsion [1492] who do not know why are doing these customs and know of no tie to Judaism based on that (3) Hostility base on years of conflict has resulted in a generation that is suspicious of any Israeli action– much as Israelis are.

  • Yonit Gefen

    Could you decode this message? I don’t understand. I think you are saying Israel has a alterior motive in burying this information. I would expect people who want the best for Palestinians to support anybody committed to giving them more options. Social Change takes time – often more than 10 years. I often notice this in discussions of Israeli Palestine by westerners – anger at Israel is much greater than concern for Palestinians.

  • Yonit Gefen

    Why should animals be included here? How is this relevant to the discussion? If you believe animals and humans are equal that is an opinion and not a fact, as you present it. Your last paragraph undermines what you say earlier. Slinging insults at those who do not agree with you, undermines your credibility and tells me you are close-minded. Communicating with you would most likely not accomplish much unless you are able to suspend belief and accept the possibility that you might be wrong.

  • Yonit Gefen

    Henry Butterfield. In a cosmic sense everything said here is pointless. So are we. So is the family feud, Palestinian descent is irrelevant, I and you and Henry Butterfield are irrelevant. If your abode is not cosmos sense universe, earth beckons

  • Yonit Gefen

    Henry Butterfield. Not only do I agree with what you said, I enjoy your somewhat sarcastic earthbound humor

  • Yonit Gefen

    or the North for not leaving them alone
    HiSTORICAL FACT: Despite what they teach us in school the civil war was not fought to free slaves but to force a central government

  • Cchimudccha

    Jefferson Airplane said “Bless it’s pointy head”. S, there’s the point. If you can make a San Francisco Victorian fly, all the rest is moot!

  • Yonit Gefen

    so all we have to do is…

  • abebird

    That is inaccurate argument. Although it is possible that some Palestinians are descendants of Jews, their number is extremely low, much lower than the Jewish origin of the people of South Italy and Spain (20% of Spaniards are descendants of Jews). There is quite reliable documentation about the migrations of Arabs and other culture
    populations to and out of the land of Israel, due to foreign invasions (Crusaders), the harsh treatment of Ottoman rule, hunger, thirst, disease, drought, lack of employment and more. Here what some known Palestinian has to say of the issue

  • TrendyT

    In the first place there has never been a Palestine or a Palestinian. But if you include after the Jews were born of Abraham and the Arabs from Abraham as bastards from another mother – of course they are related – but only genetically not religiously.

  • Wittgenstein L

    The evidence for forced conversion under Islam are problematic – so I learned in my undergraduate degree. That is there is little evidence of it. The early caliphate even used a Trinitarian Byzantine letter head for the first twenty years of its existence. Pressures to conversion appear to have come on only two occasions, during the colonialism that was the Christian crusades and when the Ottoman Empire heard of Zionist aims to populate the area. Conversion over the centuries was not by the sword but covert, as a means for greater privileges, social mobility etc.

  • Herb Sojourner

    Now wait a minute! If a Jew is a reference to one originating from an ancient province of Israel – Judea – then all Palestinians would necessarily be Judeans, not Jews. If you mean Palestinians practice the religion of which the Talmud is held holy, I dare say none of those Palestinians are Jews – those who receive religious instruction from the Talmud. How in the world did so many utterly corrupt the truth. A Judean is one originating from Judea. A Jew is one who receives religious instruction from the Talmud. A Jew, then, has nothing to do with one’s country of origin. It has everything to do with a religion – the religion taught in the Talmud. And since one cannot pass on their religion through their DNA, the vast majority of Palestinians are not descended from Jews (they did not have religious DNA passed to them at birth), although they very well may be Judeans – have originated from the ancient province of Israel know as Judea.

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