Genetics, DNA Proof of (almost all) Jews' roots to the land of Israel, not so for Arabs /"palestinians"

[The "palestinian" Arabs as "cousins" MYTH]

Jews and their neighbors: The Middle East

With Jews looking increasingly like a relatively cohesive population largely of Middle Eastern origin, the logical next question is how close a genetic relationship exists with other Middle Eastern groups. A study of Israeli Jews and Palestinian Arabs published in 2000 by Israeli researchers revealed what the authors described as "a relatively recent common ancestry." It was greeted with euphoric proclamations that Palestinians and Jews are "brothers." A closer look at the details of the study gives reason for pause.

The researchers compared Jews and Palestinians to a sample of people from Wales. When compared with the Welsh, Jews and Palestinians did indeed look similar, as they probably would if contrasted with Trobriand Islanders. When the same research team conducted a follow-up study comparing Jews and Palestinian Arabs to Kurds, Armenians, Turks, Syrians, Jordanians, Lebanese and Beduin, they saw a very different picture. Although all Middle Eastern populations have broad similarities, "Jews were found to be more closely related to groups in the north of the Fertile Crescent (Kurds, Turks and Armenians) than to their Arab neighbors."

This could mean that Jews, Kurds, Armenians and Anatolian Turks all carry the genetic markers of ancient indigenous populations of the Fertile Crescent, while Palestinian Arabs and Beduin may largely descend from the Arab conquerors, with their distinctive genetic signifiers. Genetics may eventually provide answers to such questions as what proportion of Palestinian ancestry arrived via earlier or later migrations. So far we have only partial explanations.

One of the most compelling studies compared the small Samaritan population in Israel with Druse, Palestinians and Jews from various parts of the Diaspora. The results appear to corroborate the traditional Samaritan belief that they have lived in Samaria since antiquity and are closely related to the Jews. Only four Samaritan family lineages survive, but of those four male lines, three carry the kohen modal haplotype, while the fourth, the Cohen family of priests, does not. The data indicate that the Samaritans generally married other Samaritans. Y chromosome DNA shows the Samaritan male line to have "a much greater affinity" to Jews than to the Palestinian Arabs who have surrounded them since the Arab conquest.

Ashkenazi or Sephardi? DNA Unites Jewish Families

Jewish men from communities which developed in the Near East -- Iran, Iraq, Kurdistan, Yemen -- and European Jews have very similar, almost identical genetic profiles.

"Despite their long-term residence in different countries and isolation from one another, most Jewish populations were not significantly different from one another at the genetic level. The results support the hypothesis that the paternal gene pools of Jewish communities from Europe, North Africa and the Middle East descended from a common Middle Eastern ancestral population, and suggest that most Jewish communities have remained relatively isolated from neighboring non-Jewish communities during and after the Diaspora."
(M.F. Hammer, Proc. Nat'l Academy of Science, May 9, 2000)

DNA and Tradition: The Genetic Link to the Ancient Hebrews (Paperback)
This is a groundbreaking book for those interested in the authenticity of the Hebrew Bible, anthropology, genealogy, and diaspora peoples. The title and role of the Kohan, a Jew descended from the priestly cast of Aaron has been passed down orally for millennia from father to son. Until the discovery of DNA there was no way to test these claims. The scientists in this book actually find a unique gene among the Kohanim, priests. The Y-Chromosome is passed virtually unbroken patrilineally as mitochondrial DNA is passed matrilineally. This is a fascinating testimony as the Jewish people have been in exile, and often persecuted, for two millennia. This gene is found among Kohanim from all parts of the world. The author points out that groups of people can look very different but carry very similar genetic make up. The scientists also put to rest the myth that European Jews don't have any real claim to Sinai as they were descended from the Khazarim. The story goes that the Khazars, a kingdom of Central Asians converted to Judaism after hearing arguments from the three monotheistic religions; Judaism, Christianity, and Islam. The author points out that this could very well be true, but that the DNA proves that the Askenazim/ European as well as Sephardic/ North African and Middle Eastern Jews share common set of genetics.

The Y Chromosome Pool of Jews as Part of the Genetic Landscape of the Middle East Recent genetic studies, based on Y chromosome polymorphic markers, showed that Ashkenazi Jews are more closely related to other Jewish and Middle Eastern groups than to their host populations in Europe. However, Ashkenazim have an elevated frequency of R-M17, the dominant Y chromosome haplogroup in Eastern Europeans, suggesting possible gene flow. In the present study of 495 Y chromosomes of Ashkenazim, 57 (11.5%) were found to belong to R-M17. Detailed analyses of haplotype structure, diversity and geographic distribution suggest a founder effect for this haplogroup, introduced at an early stage into the evolving Ashkenazi community in Europe.


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