Saturday, November 5, 2016

Miracles in Israel: 3 Discovery of Lost Tribes from India, Pakistan and Afghanistan-Pathans

Nadene Goldfoot                                                                                                    

Pashtos numbered 49 million in 2009,

divided into 60 different tribes comprising 400 clans.
and many have joined the Taliban terrorists.
I'd like to believe that those who have not joined, but have been preyed on by them,
are the ones who have the Jewish roots, although a DNA test is the only
reliable way to tell who is who today.  

"Pashtuns (or Pathans) traditionally call themselves the Bnei Israel (sons of Israel), claiming to be descended from Jewish tribes (their tribal names: Levani, Daftali, Yusuf, Ashuri, etc, hinting at Hebrew origins) that were marched through the Khyber Pass as part of the Assyrian conquest. And although now they make up the bulk of the Taliban, according to their oral history they were carried away from Israel in the Assyrian conquest and forced to convert to Islam by Muslims expanding their territories in 622

"Evidence of an ancient presence of Jews in Afghanistan is abundant. An ancient Jewish settlement has been identified in Herat (near the Iranian border); a graveyard there is littered with tombs which house long-dead Israelites with their names inscribed in Hebrew. Stone tablets with Hebrew inscriptions dating from 1115 to 1215 confirm the existence of a Jewish community in Firoz Koh, located between Herat and Kabul.

Kabul, the capital of Afghanistan, is also host to a long-abandoned, centuries old synagogue. Most of what might have confirmed a wide Jewish presence in Afghanistan, however, was obliterated by the Mongol Invasion of 1222, led by Genghis Khan."  
The only tribes not lost to the remaining Jews were the tribe of Judah and of Levi.  Judah, the largest of the 12 tribes,  (76,500 strong at end of Exodus) was in the south which had broken off from Israel when King Solomon died in 920 BCE. The Assyrians had attacked the northern tribes.  Levites had no land of their own, so were scattered among all of them because of their unique position of being selected to perform the Temple Service and to be the instructors of the nation of Israel.  They had been allotted 42 Levitical cities scattered among the other tribes plus 6 cities of refuge.  They went about teaching everyone.  To live, they were to receive ma'aser...the tithing in grain and produce from the people for their income.  Aaron was from this tribe, and he produced the Cohen gene of J1.  He was the high priest of the nation.  So finding descendants of our lost 10 tribes has been a monumental wish since the event had happened.

The exodus's first census  of male Israelites was taken after leaving Egypt. Notice that Levites were not counted then or later as they would live among others.  In this way they were part of a group's count.   Many were taken by the Assyrians and Babylonians, but not all.  Some lived among Judah, Benjamin and Simeon. who were not taken at the time of attack.

When the Assyrians attacked Israel in 721 BCE, they took away the best of our men and their wives, and some from the tribe of Benjamin were in the group.  This tribe had produced King Saul, Israel's first king, and of course his descendants were leaders who were captured and found themselves taken away and finally settled among the Afghan tribe known as the Pathans who lived in eastern Afghanistan near the Pakistan border.   Today they are all part of the Sunni Muslims.  "Pashtuns, largest ethnic group in Afghanistan, ruled as the dominant ethno-linguistic group for over 300 years." 
Pashtos visiting Jerusalem at the Western Wall. 
Their history is that they come from Afghana, grandson of King Saul.  
There were 30,699,037 in Pakistan in 2009
There were 13,750,117 in Afghanistan in 2016.
There were 13,000  in India in 2009.
Others have immigrated to all parts of the world today.   I have Pashtun friends who are very sympathetic towards Israel and believe in their ancestral connection.  Dr. Weil of Israel has studied them and is led to believe in their being from the Lost Tribes.  .

Jews had been living in their communities in Afghanistan since then and we know can be traced back 800 years ago because Benjamin of Tudela, a Jewish history of that age, claimed that there were 80,000 Jews in the Ghazni on the River Gozan.  This Jewish community was quite isolated and had little contact with the outside world.

In the 19th century, many Persian Jews came to Afghanistan fleeing the forced conversion in Meshad, Persia that was going on.  40,000 Jews lived there in Afghanistan in the 2nd part of the 19th century.

By 1948 when Israel was re-born through the League of Nations, the United Nations, and years of effort, 5,000 Jews were still in Afghanistan, but the majority had made aliyah to Israel in the 1950's. Recently, nearly all remaining Jews live in Kabul where there is a synagogue on Charshi Torabazein Street.

So Jews have lived among these Central Asian tribes since pre-Islamic times.  They have intermarried with the Afghan tribe known as the Pathans who were evidently influenced by these early Jewish settlements, and Jewish beliefs and customs were spread this way until Islam brought about forced Moslem conversions in 662 CE.  Muhammad had died in 632 CE, and his beliefs were spread forcefully.

Pathanas have as their legal system, something called Pashtunwali, which is very much like our written Torah and is quite different from Islam's laws.  The tribes are known to keep scrolls of their family's genealogy, and their oral tradition says they are from King Saul of the tribe of Benjamin.  Many of their tribal names are a lot like the Tribes of Israel's names such as:  Rabani, Haftali, Asuri, etc.  Some Pathans even call themselves "Beni Israel" which is Sons of Israel.  They look very Semitic.  The men will grow full beards and some even have side-locks as orthodox Jewish men will have.  Some practice circumcision on the 8th day after birth-a Jewish custom.  The men will wear a tallit-like cloak.  A tallit is the prayer shawl that Jewish men put on when praying.  Some families even light candles on Friday night-another well practiced custom of our Jewish women today that is thousands of years old.  When you add all this up, you cannot help but feel that among the Pashtos, are people with Jewish genes.  They indeed have reason to hold the belief of coming from the Lost Tribes of Israel.
What is surprising to me is that they declare the tribe of Benjamin as their ancestors.  Benjamin was close to Judah on the maps.  When Judah broke off from Israel after King Solomon died, some of Benjamin and even some of Simeon were living with Judah as the southern kingdom of Judah.  So I did not realize that any of Benjamin would have been carted away, but it certainly could have happened.  After all, they most likely were helping their brothers fight off the Assyrians, and also again in 586 BCE when the Babylonians took over the Assyrian provinces and boldly attacked Judah again, that they would have gathered up Benjaminites.  "The Pashtuns take extreme care of their genealogical records, called shijra. For example, a number of medieval Persian texts document the Pathan tradition that they are descended from Kish or Qais, their ancient king, who was a contemporary of Mohammed and is claimed to be the 37th direct descendent of King Saul through Pison, Saul's great-grandson (as mentioned in I Chronicles 8:35).

Actor Saif Ali Khan of India has Pashtun heritage.
A genetic study of Pashtos has been hard to do, though those living in India have been more willing.  Pakistan and Afghanistan Pashtos felt that they KNEW who they were and their connection to King Saul and the Hebrews and didn't want to take a test.  Be that as it will, testing has been done.  "Now an Indian researcher has collected blood samples from members of the Afridi tribe of Pashtuns who today live in Malihabad, near Lucknow, in northern India. Shahnaz Ali, from the National Institute of Immuno­haematology in Mumbai, is to spend several months studying her findings at Technion, the Israel Institute of Technology, in Haifa. A previous genetic study in the same area did not provide proof one way or the other.
The results are:                                                                               
"The haplogroup R1a (Y-DNA) is found at a frequency of 51.02% among the Pashtun people. (A certain R1a line has been found in Levites.) 

Paragroup Q-M242(xMEH2, xM378) (of Haplogroup Q-M242 (Y-DNA)) was found at 16.3% in Pashtuns.Haplogroup Q-M242 is also found at a frequency of 18% in Pashtuns in the Afghan capital of Kabul.

"The Pashtun are raised on stories of their origins as Children of Israel.   Specifically, children of Ephraim. (Ephraim being known as Afridi in Pashto.) And preliminary DNA testing has shown that the Pashtun tribe known specifically as Afridi do, in fact, share genetic markers with their Jewish neighbors, with nearly half of Afridis tested sharing markers found widely in the Jewish population."  "Additional testing showed that the genetic homology between the Pashtun and European Jews was nearly identical to the homology observed between  European Jewish DNA and that of Iraqi and Iranian Jews." Intriguingly, the rare genetic disease  inclusion body myopathy 2, a muscle-wasting syndrome, was known to occur only in Jews--specifically Iranian Jews. That is, until doctors identified the same unusual disorder in the Pashtuns in Afghanistan--an observation though to result from a "founder mutation effect", i.e., an original mutation in an ancestor common to all current cases. 
My father, DNA Q242 -QBZ67 a Jewish haplogroup

This is very exciting to me as my father is also a Q, and has had the title of M242 upon our first testing.  Deeper testing now gives us the tag of QBZ67.  That's the result of 67 alleles and more STRs tested.  I knew of a few Q Haplogroup men that matched my brother's haplogroup test from Afghanistan.  One dropped me as a friend when he realized I was Jewish, so it will be hard to convince them that we are not terrible people.  

 Jewish Q's make up 5% of the Jewish population today.  This means that we share a common ancestor for sure!  Q's started  in northern and central Asia 15,000 to 20,000 years ago and migrated through northern Eurasia, coming to Ur in Iraq where Abraham was born.  Many Native North and South Americans are also connected along the line and have Q lineage.    

R1a is most common in populations in India and central and western Asia.  It was thought to have originated in the Eurasian steppes north of the Black and Caspian seas in the Kurgan people, the first speakeers of the Indo-European language who lived in the region about 3,000 BCE and were known to domesticate the horse.  

" Pakistani Jews and Afghan Jews have largely relocated to Israel and the United States."
The Pashtuns who believe they have a Jewish connection say:   "We are a group of Pashtuns who are dedicated to reafirming our blood/genetic roots with our jewish brothers in Israel and around the world. We are the lost Israelite tribe and seek to re-establish our historical links with the Jews of the world."  They can be contacted.

Here's the conundrum to this miracle of all miracles.  Some would like to come and visit but probably not to convert back to Judaism and live since they are Muslims.   It is a miracle to have discovered them, though after all these years.    Israel already has about 20-25% Muslims and 75% Jews, and this ratio cannot be changed.  It is the only Jewish state in the world.  There are already 48 Muslim majority states  including Afghanistan with 28,395,716  people and Pakistan with 172,800,000 already.  Let's hope for another miracle and have some return to qualify for the mitzva of ingathering spoken of by our prophets.   The biggest miracle of all is if they came back wanting to be converted back to Judaism like the Anusim, people forced for convert to Christianity's Catholicism from the Spanish Inquisition.  

**** written 2010

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