Monday, January 08, 2007

The Ten Lost Tribes are still lost (Part 1)

I remember reading a pamphlet quite a few years ago which was published by the Amishav institute (Now known as Shavei Israel) called The Lost Tribes of Assyria. In it, the author, Rabbi Eliyahu Avihail seeks to prove that the Pashtun (Pathan) tribesmen of Afghanistan and Kashmir are descended of the 10 lost tribes of Israel. Their Hebrew sounding names and Israelite-like customs convinced Avihail of the veracity of the claim. (Read an excerpt from the book ).

Several years ago, a Canadian Jewish filmmaker Simcha Jacobovici reached the same conclusion. In a video documentary called Quest for the Lost Tribes he travels halfway around the world interviewing Indo-Chinese and Bucharian Jews-among others untill he arrives in Afghanistan, then as now a war-torn region. There, he meets with several Pashtun tribesman who relate to him a tradition of Jewish origin. That and their "unmistakeably Semitic faces" leaves Jacobovici with the belief and certainty that he stumbled upon the real thing.

I must confess, that I too strongly belived in this and eagerly awaited for science to dispel any lingering doubts. Well, science has now spoken and I'm afraid that I (as well as many others) was wrong.

While the scientific DNA study was not 100 percent conclusive, there are very strong indications that the bulk of the Pashtuns are in fact not of Hebrew or Semitic descent.

"Two populations, the Kashmiris and the Pathans also lay claim to a possible Jewish origin. Jewish populations commonly have a moderate frequency of haplogroup 21(20%) and a high frequency of haplogroup 9(36%). The frequencies of both of these haplogroups are low in both the Pathans and Kashmiris so no support of Jewish origin is found, although again this conclusion is limited both by the small sample size available from Kashmir and by the assumption that the modern samples are representative of ancient populations".

Click here to read more of the University of Chicago study.


At Tuesday, January 09, 2007 1:36:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Wouldn't intermarriage greatly reduce the fingerprint?

Actually I hope they are NOT Jews. The Pashtun are the Muslims accused of hiding Bin Ladin and supporting the Taliban. I should hope the world won't now blame 9/11 also on these Jews.

At Tuesday, January 09, 2007 11:52:00 PM, Blogger Joels W. said...

The Pashtuns are stricly endogamous and are thought to have married only among their own since their early history.

I hear you about the Taliban.

Thanks for the comment.

At Friday, January 12, 2007 3:07:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

A fascinating blog, Joel.

The problem with the study quoted is that they did NOT test the members of those specific Afghan tribes who do claim descent from Jews. Not all Afghan tribes claim this, but the ones who do are well known and identified in various sources.

Tracing the Tribe - The Jewish Genealogy Blog

At Friday, January 12, 2007 1:52:00 PM, Blogger avakesh said...

For the laymen I suggest R. Yaakov Kleinman's, DNA and Tradition: The Genetic Link to the Ancient Hebrews.

There are two other areas to pursue.
1. Study of subpopulations, as noted in the Comments
2. Prevalence and nature of specific genetic diseaseas that are found in the Jewish population.

The problem, of course, is that we are looking for fingerprints from the First Temple period, very long time ago. Mitochondrial DNA is another thing to look for for, for maternal origin.

At Thursday, May 19, 2011 3:48:00 AM, Blogger i.k said...

The study news reports said that the study sponsored by the Israeli government was in January 2010 and that results could be expected in 3months to a year. Has any one heard of any results. Also Technion University in Haifa does genetic screanings for individuals and has been engaged in seeing if a person has a match with the Jewish gene pool. Has any Pushtun taken advantage of this. If so what were the results?

At Wednesday, February 29, 2012 6:02:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Very interesting blog, however, as a forensic anthropologist, I have been assured for many years that genetic studies are highly ambiguous, especially when looking for ancient genetic data. The Pashtuns of Afghanistan would certainly be very interesting to look at as they have been quite isolated for a long time, but they are not the easiest to find. Abroad, there are many Afghan immigrants, but the Pashtuns number very few among them.

As for the first comment- apart from the very recent history of the past decade, the Pashtuns of Afghanistan have not only protected their territories for over 1000 years, but they also fought off the British when the Brits were thought unapproachable; as well as forming the most formidable adversary for the former USSR. I would be more than proud to be related to such an admirable group of people. hah!

Also, they seem to have established Afghanistan, conquering an enormous stretch of land from the grasp of Iran.

At Wednesday, May 09, 2012 3:19:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

May be pashtuns are lost tribes but now they are muslims nd would never compromise on that identity as for kashmiris they are arians

At Friday, May 30, 2014 7:49:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

We pashtun 2 many of us have red hair and blue eyes myself blonde as far as i know real heberw are black so how can we are related 2 the lost tribe and yet i dont have anything against jews but fuck zionist

At Tuesday, September 02, 2014 2:03:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

We are only marry among oursevels coz of our culture and the name we keep like israel shimon isaac those names are muslim names not jew and israel is the sec name of prophet yacob pbuh noting 2 do jews

At Tuesday, September 02, 2014 2:03:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

We are only marry among oursevels coz of our culture and the name we keep like israel shimon isaac those names are muslim names not jew and israel is the sec name of prophet yacob pbuh noting 2 do jews

At Saturday, September 06, 2014 7:43:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Im pashtun girl 2 belongs 2 shinwari tribe which is shimon i think and i do believe we got ancient israelities blood in us but i dont think we are related 2 modren jews

At Saturday, September 06, 2014 7:46:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

As a pashtun girl i believe we got ancient israelis blood in us and im belongs 2 shinwari tribe which is shimon in hebrew i think and we pashtuns are not talibans well some of us are i mean in us there is talis but not all of us

At Monday, September 28, 2015 1:19:00 AM, Blogger Junaid Iqbal said...

Being a Yousafzai(Son of Joseph) Pashtun, doesn't mean that we are Jews. I heard from our forefathers that we are Bani Israel but there are not any scientific evidence of our relation with Israel and this is unfair to relate us to modern day Jews just because we have Hebrew names or same culture like them.

At Wednesday, September 30, 2015 6:20:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

At Tuesday, April 11, 2017 7:28:00 AM, Blogger Unknown said...

I am a Kakayzai , and my elders have mentioned our trade with Jews , Armenia to Balkh and then to Lahore , we also find , Star of David , insdie many places in Lahore


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