New York, NY - According to a new scientific study, Jews are the genetic brothers of Palestinians, Syrians and Lebanese, and they all share a common genetic lineage that stretches back thousands of years. This genetic brotherhood does not include non-Jewish Europeans.
This finding differs from the Anglo-Israelism teachings of the British Israel World Federation, and a number of off-beat American televangelists including Arnold Murray of the Shepherd's Chapel in Gravette, Arkansas; and the WGN Sunday morning Church of God duo Roderick C. Meredith and Gerald Flurry. It also runs counter to the notions of Steven M. Collins in his dizzyingly speculative The "Lost" Ten Tribes of Israel...Found! (Collins 1995), the teachings of Israeli author Yair Davidy in his three books The Tribes: The Israelite Origins of Western Peoples (Davidy 1993), Ephraim (Davidy 1994), and Lost Israelite Identity (Davidy 1996), and the United Church of God's curious new booklet The United States and Britain in Bible Prophecy (Foster 2001).
"Jews and Arabs are all really children of Abraham," says Harry Ostrer, M.D., Director of the Human Genetics Program at New York University School of Medicine, an author of the new study by an international team of researchersF1 in the United States, Europe, and Israel. "And all have preserved their Middle Eastern genetic roots over 4,000 years," he says.
The researchers analyzed the Y chromosome, which is usually passed unchanged from father to son, of more than 1,000 men worldwide. Throughout human history, alterations have occurred in the sequence of chemical bases that make up the DNA in this so-called male chromosome, leaving variations that can be pinpointed with modern genetic techniques. Related populations carry the same specific variations. In this way, scientists can track descendants of large populations and determine their common ancestors. Specific regions of the Y chromosome were analyzed in 1,371 men from 29 worldwide populations, including Jews and non-Jews from the Middle East, North Africa, sub-Saharan Africa, and Europe.
The study, published in the June 6, 2000, issue of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (on-line May 9, 2000), found that Jewish men shared a common set of genetic signatures with non-Jews from the Middle East, including Palestinians, Syrians, and Lebanese, and these signatures diverged significantly from non-Jewish men outside of this region. Consequently, Jews and Arabs share a common ancestor and are more closely related to one another than to non-Jews from other areas of the world (see study or obtain PDF Download).
The study also revealed that despite the complex history of Jewish migration in the Diaspora (the time since BCE 556 when Jews migrated out of Palestine), Jewish communities have generally not intermixed with non-Jewish populations. If they had, then Jewish men from different regions of the world would not share the same genetic signatures in their Y chromosome.
"Because ancient Jewish law states that Jewish religious affiliation is assigned maternally, our study afforded the opportunity to assess the contribution of non-Jewish men to present-day Jewish genetic diversity," says Michael Hammer, Ph.D., from the University of Arizona, Tucson, who is the lead author of the new study. "It was surprising", he says, "to see how significant the Middle Eastern genetic signal was in Jewish men from different communities in the Diaspora."
In 1998 BibArch called for a scientific approach to study of the descendants of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob (see Who Are the Ten Lost Tribes of Israel from the Nov./Dec. 1998 issue of Perspectives). Why? The heated debate as to whether or not the Lost Ten Tribes of Israel compose the biblical and therefore the prophetic identity of the United States, Britain, and several European countries, continues to seethe. While the findings of historians, linguists and archeologists are of great import they have not established with any certainty that Americans of northern European descent, the British, and northern European peoples are indeed the descendants of the Ten Lost Tribes of the House of Israel. While the study is not conclusive in explaining the fate of the Ten Lost Tribes it is a giant step in the direction of bringing scientific evidence to bear.