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Israeli and Palestinian Arabs: Might some of them be anusim and potential Jews?

Reader comment on item: Israel's Arabs, Living a Paradox

Submitted by Martin H. Katchen (United States), Mar 22, 2012 at 22:41

The problem of Israel's Arab population is not an easy one to solve. One item, I think, has been missing from the discussion and might provide a potential at least partial solution.

When the DNA of Jews was analyzed, it was found that all Jews, Ashkenazim, Sephardim and Mizrachi, had nuclear (paternal) DNA in common with each other and according to nuclear DNA, the Jew's closest relatives turned out to be Palestinian Muslims (with Kurds running second). (For mitochondrial DNA, which only is carried by mothers, Jews tended to show mitochondrial DNA similar to the people surrounding them (Berbers in North Africa, Spanish in Spain, Germans in Germany, Russians in Russia) leading to the conclusion that Jewish males seeking better fortunes intermarried when it was safe to do so and converted their wives, making certain that their children were raised as Jews.)

The obvious conclusion we can draw is that at least a major percentage of Palestinian and Israeli Arabs are the descendants of Jews who converted to Melkite (Eastern Orthodox) Christianity under the pressure of life in the Byzantine Empire and subsequently, finding Christianity distast4eful, converted from Christianity to Islam after the Islamic conquest. What this means is that at least some Palestinians might well be halakhically Jewish by blood and thus legal subjects for Jewish outreach for teshuva or conversion to Judaism. (Interestingly, Rabbi Meir Kahane had as one of his fellow Kach MKs an Arab convert to Judaism, giving the lie to charges that Kahane was racist).

It is probably too much to expect Arabs to convert to Judaism as indivduals or that it would be safe either for themselves, their families or Israel for them to do so that way. But I suspect that if we examine Palestinians and Israeli Arabs carefully, both by examining their DNA (gathered for security reasons of course) and lineage and how other Palestinians treat them, I hypothesize that we will find an element of the Palestinian population that is both closest to Jews in DNA and looked down upon by Palestinians who are their social betters. This would make sense, considering that the Palestinian and Syrian population that we know of was composed of two elements historically; Christian Arabs and Ismaili Shiites who survived the Crusades, which massacred much of the Arab population, and settlers who came in with Saladin and Baibars, who reconquered Eretz Yisroel from the Crusaders. It is these earlier elements, I hypothesize, that will turn out to be closest to Jews in terms of DNA and will have family tradiitions (which some Palestinian Arabs admit having) of having once been Jews. It is these Palestinian families who would be most amenable to an approach perhaps to the family's shaikh or elder male about return of the family to Judaism. Which is most likely the same way those families left Judaism in the first place 1600 years ago.( It is easy to see fathers converting to Christianity under pressure and sons who would not go along with that leaving Eretz Yisroel and going to foreign places outside the Byzantine Empire such as North Africa, Babylonia, Arabia and Yemen and Spain and Gaul, where they could start new families. )

I suspect that conversions by family would take and would both further reduce the Palestinian Muslim population and demoralize the rest. It would be resisted with terrorism, of course. But permitting qualified Palestinians who wished to do so to return to Judaism and be fully accepted as Jews would a) turn enemies into friends, b) reduce the population of Jew's enemies and c) be a final repudiation of the Byzantine Emperor Justinian's edict against conversion to Judaism which has been the historical "derech eretz" of Eretz Yisroel and which Jews (and the Israeli Government) have been running scared of ever since. Allowing and encouraging Palestinians to resume keeping Torah and Mitzvot would give the lie to accusations that Zionism is racism and remove that intellectual protection from Muslim anti-semites and their European sympathizers, who would be forced into the open as anti-semites with no human rights shibboleths to hide behind anymore.


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