[b-hebrew] Re: Hebrew and Welsh?

Yigal Levin leviny1 at mail.biu.ac.il
Wed Nov 17 11:08:50 EST 2004

----- Original Message -----
From: "Peter Kirk" <peterkirk at qaya.org>
To: <MarianneLuban at aol.com>
Cc: <b-hebrew at lists.ibiblio.org>
Sent: Wednesday, November 17, 2004 1:35 PM
Subject: Re: [b-hebrew] Re: Hebrew and Welsh?

> Thank you, Marianne, for this fascinating study. See some more points
> On 17/11/2004 05:33, MarianneLuban at aol.com wrote:
> >
> >...  Of course, it is supposed to be that the priestly family died
> >out among the Samaritans and that the Levites then took over the priestly
> >office.  But, according to DNA, this is not true...
> >
> This doesn't follow. If the original priestly family were descendants of
> Aaron, they were closely related in the male line to the remaining
> Levites, for (according to the Hebrew Bible) they had a common ancestor
> in Levi only a few generations before Aaron - and only one generation
> earlier with all true Israelites. So it makes sense that the Samaritan
> Levites share a common Y chromosome type with the Jewish Cohens,
> presumed to be descendants of Aaron - and with a good proportion of
> modern Jews, presumably excluding descendants of later proselytes,
> Jewish women who took Gentile husbands etc.

Actually, the present Samaritan priests are supposingly non-Aaronite
Levites. The Samaritans claim that their last true Kohen died childless
several generations ago, and the job was passed on to the most senior Levite

> One implication of this seems to be that the modern Samaritans, except
> for the recently added Cohen family, seem to be descended, at least in
> the male line, not from the Assyrian settlers of 2 Kings 17:24 but from
> Levites who moved among them at some time. This evidence should imply
> that the Samaritans can at last be accepted as true Jews and the 2500
> years of enmity can be ended.

The Samaritans are certainly not "Jews", i.e. from the tribe/kingdom of
Judah/Judea, nor do they claim to be. The question is whether they are
descended from the northern Israelites. As far as "2500 years of enmity";
that story ended sometime in the 2nd century CE, after any hope for Jewish
independance was lost. Talmudic sources tended to be ambivilant towards the
Samaritans. Throught most of the following 1500 years, Jews gave very little
thought to the Samaritans at all, and the modern Zionist movement was very
quick to "adopt" them as "a long-lost Jewish tribe". In fact, even before
modern Zionism, back in the late 1800's, the Chief Rabbi of Eretz-Israel
(the "Hakham Bashi") issued a ruling that the Samaritans were considered
Jewish, thus saving them from Muslim persecution.
After Israeli independance in 1948, the tiny remaining Samaritan community
found itself split between Holon, in Israel, and Nablus, occupied by Jordan.
The Holon community was immediately granted Israeli citizenship. Since the
Samaritans had no proccess of "conversion" (that is, of accepting new
members into the community), there was a real fear of their dying out, until
the Israeli President, Yitzhak Ben-Zvi, convinced them that it was OK to
marry "fellow Israelite" Jewish women. The community has practically
trippled its numbers since that time. In 1967, when Israel liberated Shechem
and Mt. Gerizim, it offered citizenship to the Nablus community as well.
They (wisely, as it turns out), declined, but any Nablus memeber who moves
to Holon is granted automatic Israeli citizenship under the Law of Return
(which makes all Jews elegable to immigrate and to become Israeli citizens).
Since the 1993 Oslo accords and Palestinian self-rule, the Nablus community,
who are not Israeli citizens and are theoretically represented in the
Palestinian Authority, have come under attack as "Jews" and "collaborators
with the occupation" to the extent that they have been forced to abandon
their homes and synagogue in Nablus (which was burned and its ancient Torah
scrolls stolen) and move into their settlement of "Kiryat Luzah", at the
peak of Mt. Gerizim, under protection of the Israeli military.

> Interesting also that the Kurds have a similar Y chromosome type. This
> might well suggest descent from the "lost" northern tribes, who are
> known to have been exiled to areas close to modern Kurdistan. And it
> might suggest that the Samaritan Danfi family are in fact not true
> Levites but survivors from one of the northern tribes. But do any of the
> Welsh have this same Y chromosome?

To me, the use of genetics to find "lost Jewish tribes" seems rediculous.
Since when was Judaism (or any other faith) about genetics?


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