Many surprised by genetic and cultural links between Palestinians and Jews


Chromosome for the Cohen, “priestly” line shows up in Palestinians

Israeli and Palestinian boys

By Mark Ellis

In some of the dry and dusty Palestinian and Bedouin villages they still circumcise their boys after the seventh day. Hidden away in some Palestinian homes are Jewish mezuzahs and tefillin. Some older residents can recall lighting candles on the Sabbath.

“Many of the Palestinians know it, but it’s not politically correct to acknowledge this publicly among Muslims,” says Steve Hagerman, founder of Turkish World Outreach. “There are two houses of Israel in the Holy Land: one aligned with the West and primarily secular or Jewish and the other aligned with the East and primarily Islam.”

When the northern kingdom of Israel was deported by the Assyrians in 745-702 B.C., most were sent to the east, Hagerman notes. After the Roman conquest, many Jews were carried away as slaves or fled to the west. “Many of the people in southern and central Italy are of Jewish origin, because so many slaves were carried away by the Romans to big estates in southern Italy.”

Hagerman cites a documentary that appeared on Israeli television in 2009 that established many common links. The documentary, produced by Nissim Mossek, quotes Rabbi Dov Stein, secretary of the New Sanhedrin, “It becomes clear that a significant part of the Arabs in the land of Israel are actually descendants of Jews who were forced to convert to Islam over the centuries,” he says. “There are studies which indicate that 85% of this group is of Jewish origin.”

Genetic studies have confirmed the connection. Ariella Oppenheim PhD, a researcher at Hebrew University and the Hadassah Medical School labs, did several important studies in 2000 and 2001. She was able to demonstrate common origins and a number of surprising relationships. Oppenheim established that both the Palestinians and the Jews descended from the Kurds of Babylon, homeland of the patriarch Abraham.

Perhaps more surprising, she found the Ashkenazi Jews from Europe are genetically closer to the Palestinians than Middle East Jews.

Oppenheim also isolated and traced the chromosome for the “priestly” Cohen line. “We find that Arabs also carry this chromosome,” she noted on the documentary, which means that some Palestinians are also Cohens, genetically.

The Palestinian city of Yatta, located south of Hebron in the West Bank, has a population of 50,000 to 60,000 people. The Israeli documentary states that 90 % of the town has Jewish roots.

The film crew visited one Palestinian home where the Jewish mezuzah was hidden under a shelf, and the tefillin are hidden among the socks in a dresser. The mezuzah was a parchment of Scripture placed on the doorpost by religious Jews. Tefillin, also known as phylacteries, are a set of small boxes containing scrolls of parchment inscribed with Scripture, which are worn by observant Jews during morning prayers.

A Palestinian woman interviewed on the program says, “That is how I pray and everyone keeps the secret.”

“Will your little boy find out he is Jewish? an interviewer asks.

“He will find out eventually,” she says.

As Israelis and Palestinians prepare to battle one another over the issue of statehood in the United Nations, it may be a radical notion to inform each party that the one they consider their worst enemy is actually their brother – far removed by the tides of history.


  1. It is so interesting to know that these two cultures are linked in such a way. God has open a path where peace may be just the beginning. I hope and pray that the fighting stops and between the two and there can be a light at the end of the tunnel.

  2. I will continue to pray for truth, honesty, fairness, justness, and for people to see realities. Palistinians and jews who can get along will be example to the rest but this conflict is part of the end times

    • Mr. Tsvi Misinai, shalom! Your work is very invaluable to all who loves Israel. Thank you and may God bless you.

    • Hi I would love to see the You Tube video you mentioned:
      But when I go to the webpage it tells me it is private. Can you grant me access please?
      When I lived in Lebanon decades ago a few of my Palestinian friends told me Palestinians descended from Jews. I believed them, it makes sense. But I never knew anyone with tephillin or mezuzahs. I did know there was a Palestinian custom of lighting candles on the Sabbath, though. It makes me so happy and at the same time sad that so many people have had to die over this and still continue to die. I know there is more to it than just genes, obviously…

    • Hello Tsvi Misinai,

      Sir you are a genius. Thank you for your research and for telling the truth. Also I would like to express my appreciation to Dr. Prof. Ariella Opeheim for her excellent genetic research. My ancestors are Christians from Bethlehem, my family has always been in Beitlehem and Jerusalem. We did not leave or come from some other country. They call us Palestinians now and we are Christian. I did the DNA test, and my Jewish cousins show up! Napartsek, Rabbin, Wasserman, Feinstein, Roach, Tannenbaum, Litvak, and many other families! I compared them on GED MATCH to other Christian cousins from Bethlehem and neighboring villages, bingo they are all related. We all have about the same amount of genetic material on several chromosomes with them, me having most! :). Not one chromosome, two or three! on at least 6, 7, 8 chromosomes.
      This indicates that these Jewish families had origins in Bethlehem and Jerusalem and that they are Judeans in origins like us. I invite everybody to take the DNA test, this is the moment of truth! God bless us all.

  3. This is not surprising at all if one believes in the veracity of biblical history. This is yet another affirmation of the authenticity of the Bible…

    • Chaya…. Who do you think you are to dictate? Mind your own …….., and don’t open your mouth before shaking your brain well.

  4. It is beginning to look like it is now time for Palestinians to go back into the tent of their father Jacob, and be reunited with the rest of their brothers who are coming home from around the world. With God nothing is impossible. The L-ORD heals, and in him there is shalom.

  5. Just wanted to comment on this ive done an dna test it showed I had middle eastern in me what a surprise but i did know abt a piticular grandmother who no one knew anything abt and other grandparentsas well. THe test results showed palestinian, bedouin, bedouin south druze, jewish my dad also showed mozabite and iran as well. Anyway its nice to know even under the circumstances:)

    • Colossians 3:1-17

      Put On the New Self

      1Therefore if you have been raised up with Christ, keep seeking the things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. 2Set your mind on the things above, not on the things that are on earth. 3For you have died and your life is hidden with Christ in God. 4When Christ, who is our life, is revealed, then you also will be revealed with Him in glory.

      5Therefore consider the members of your earthly body as dead to immorality, impurity, passion, evil desire, and greed, which amounts to idolatry. 6For it is because of these things that the wrath of God will come upon the sons of disobedience, 7and in them you also once walked, when you were living in them. 8But now you also, put them all aside: anger, wrath, malice, slander, and abusive speech from your mouth. 9Do not lie to one another, since you laid aside the old self with its evil practices, 10and have put on the new self who is being renewed to a true knowledge according to the image of the One who created him— 11a renewal in which there is no distinction between Greek and Jew, circumcised and uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave and freeman, but Christ is all, and in all.

      12So, as those who have been chosen of God, holy and beloved, put on a heart of compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience; 13bearing with one another, and forgiving each other, whoever has a complaint against anyone; just as the Lord forgave you, so also should you. 14Beyond all these things put on love, which is the perfect bond of unity. 15Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body; and be thankful. 16Let the word of Christ richly dwell within you, with all wisdom teaching and admonishing one another with psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with thankfulness in your hearts to God. 17Whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks through Him to God the Father.

      Galatians 3

      Faith Brings Righteousness

      1You foolish Galatians, who has bewitched you, before whose eyes Jesus Christ was publicly portrayed as crucified? 2This is the only thing I want to find out from you: did you receive the Spirit by the works of the Law, or by hearing with faith? 3Are you so foolish? Having begun by the Spirit, are you now being perfected by the flesh? 4Did you suffer so many things in vain—if indeed it was in vain? 5So then, does He who provides you with the Spirit and works miracles among you, do it by the works of the Law, or by hearing with faith?

      6Even so Abraham BELIEVED GOD, AND IT WAS RECKONED TO HIM AS RIGHTEOUSNESS. 7Therefore, be sure that it is those who are of faith who are sons of Abraham. 8The Scripture, foreseeing that God would justify the Gentiles by faith, preached the gospel beforehand to Abraham, saying, “ALL THE NATIONS WILL BE BLESSED IN YOU.” 9So then those who are of faith are blessed with Abraham, the believer.

      10For as many as are of the works of the Law are under a curse; for it is written, “CURSED IS EVERYONE WHO DOES NOT ABIDE BY ALL THINGS WRITTEN IN THE BOOK OF THE LAW, TO PERFORM THEM.” 11Now that no one is justified by the Law before God is evident; for, “THE RIGHTEOUS MAN SHALL LIVE BY FAITH.” 12However, the Law is not of faith; on the contrary, “HE WHO PRACTICES THEM SHALL LIVE BY THEM.” 13Christ redeemed us from the curse of the Law, having become a curse for us—for it is written, “CURSED IS EVERYONE WHO HANGS ON A TREE”— 14in order that in Christ Jesus the blessing of Abraham might come to the Gentiles, so that we would receive the promise of the Spirit through faith.

      Intent of the Law

      15Brethren, I speak in terms of human relations: even though it is only a man’s covenant, yet when it has been ratified, no one sets it aside or adds conditions to it. 16Now the promises were spoken to Abraham and to his seed. He does not say, “And to seeds,” as referring to many, but rather to one, “And to your seed,” that is, Christ. 17What I am saying is this: the Law, which came four hundred and thirty years later, does not invalidate a covenant previously ratified by God, so as to nullify the promise. 18For if the inheritance is based on law, it is no longer based on a promise; but God has granted it to Abraham by means of a promise.

      19Why the Law then? It was added because of transgressions, having been ordained through angels by the agency of a mediator, until the seed would come to whom the promise had been made. 20Now a mediator is not for one party only; whereas God is only one. 21Is the Law then contrary to the promises of God? May it never be! For if a law had been given which was able to impart life, then righteousness would indeed have been based on law. 22But the Scripture has shut up everyone under sin, so that the promise by faith in Jesus Christ might be given to those who believe.

      23But before faith came, we were kept in custody under the law, being shut up to the faith which was later to be revealed. 24Therefore the Law has become our tutor to lead us to Christ, so that we may be justified by faith. 25But now that faith has come, we are no longer under a tutor. 26For you are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus. 27For all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ. 28There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free man, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus. 29And if you belong to Christ, then you are Abraham’s descendants, heirs according to promise.

  6. Beautiful story. I hope people can stop their pity ignorance and realize us jews and some arabs are just related. I hope there will be peace and these pointless wars will stop.Shabbat Shalom

  7. Lol ! How can there possibly be any separation in any of us ? We ALL come from the same Source. The only separation exists within perception and fear. Everything is subjective. Until that is seen, there will continue to be differences. Release the “veils” of perception !!

  8. Some older studies do suggest a genetic connection between Jews and some Bedouin tribes (and those Bedouin tribes’ palestinian descendants). But overall it’s only a small minority of palestinians who’re descended from those Bedouins. Overall Jews are much closer related to Druze and other northern Semitic people as recent autosomal studies shows. On PCA plots (genetic maps) palestinians appear somewhere between Levantines and Gulf Arabs.

  9. Unus genus sumus… We are one tribe…
    The Bible is true. The Jews are right, they are on THEIR land. But so are the Palestinians, who are also right. It is politicians who set one nation against the other that are wrong.
    Politicians often pursue goals playing on people’s feelings of patriotism. However, there are values much higher than patriotism – love thy neighbour being one of them.

  10. It is funny. Many believed the so-called OT was done away with. Yet if people had read it they would have known we of Yshral are North (Europe and Asia), South (Africa), East (Iraq, Iran, Asia, etc), and West (Apocrypha refers to the Americas–although present in the original 1611 KJV it was removed from successive KJV versions; Montezinos found us in Central and South America). In 70AD the mountains we ran to by advice of Yahusha the Messiah were to the south (Esau’s territory) and possibly the East; Egypt is where we often escaped to when trouble came from the North. We will not return as a nation until Yahusha the Messiah returns.

    Deut 28:68…when were “Jews” ever taken by ships into perpetual misery/mitsraym (mistakenly translated to mean the country of Egypt not the awful condition of slavery/unpaid employment we experienced there by people of similar skin colour)?

    Zeph 3:10 from beyond the rivers Kush (the Nile is one of those rivers) the daughter of his dispersed ones will return. Check out the Lemba and their DNA results on YouTube. It is very interesting how they are being ignored in all of this. I learned a lot by reading the book “From Babylon to Timbuktu”. Many were converted to Islam and later on Christianity.

    There is a YouTube video called “Whoever You Thought You Were You’re a Jew” made by an Ashkenazi Jew relating to this book. There is a YouTube site “Googletube2009” which explains a lot about what Hebrew Yshralites believe (salvation in the name Yahusha and obedience to the commandments of YHUH as Yahusha did).

  11. It does not surprise me at all, as I am a Palestinian and have remarked pretty strong physiognomic and atavistic similarities between Palestinian (Moslems & Christians) and Jews. Probably most Palestinians, and particularly Palestinian Christians, descend from Jewish converts of the Hellenic period (Maccabean & Hasmonean periods), and later on, from Samaritans of the Byzantine period and for Palestinian Moslems, Samaritan converts of the Islamic period. But to what faith and national group do those Palestinians, Jews and Samaritans belong to before they converted to Judaism? Why do you fail to address this essential issue? This is why I say, this discovery should not be utilized to propagate mythical ideas for the sake of a covert political agenda. This mythical ideas would be that the “land of Canaan” belongs to the Jews because God gave it to the Jews. The Jewish people is a segment of the “Canaanite Levantine nation,” and to ignore this fact will continue perpetuating conflicts and bloodshed based on ignorance of the original truth. I assert this both in a spiritual and genetic sense. Judaism (and therefore Christianity and Islam) is the result of a long historical process of evolution from primitive Natufian beliefs, to Canaanite earthly obsession with fertility cults (Baal) and more detached desires for celestial cults (El) to a unitarian philosophical understanding attained by some Egyptian, Greek, Canaanite and Aryan Zoroastrian-Vedic masters of eastern initiatic schools, resulting in the cult of Yhwh among Jews. Do keep in mind that the Bible was written maximum as late as 500-300BC and that it was surely revisited by Jewish nationalistic priests concerned with survival in a culturally overpowering Hellenistic world. I am not insinuating here that Jews do not have a certain tribal spiritual particularism and, consequently, do not have the great merit to have preserved, perpetuated and enforced a strictly monotheistic cult, but what I am saying is that the roots of this cult is essentially of Sumero-Akkadian inspiration, of Egypto-Canaanites synthesis, and that the Phoenic0-Greeks and Perso-Indian Aryans have elevated it to more philosophical and scientific spheres. In it in this historical context that we must place Judaism, and not in that of an imbecilic, infantile and dangerous religious mentality. Religion is not a knowledge revealed to man from a human entity living in the sky, and Jews are not those men who can communicate with that being. Instead, Jews are the descendents of those Canaanite men who kept wondering about their origins and the origins of this universe and would not accept that any other people and culture dominates them and their beleifs. This is a Canaanite phenomenon, and especially so a southern Canaanite phenomenon, Canaan being a land sandwiched between Africa, Asia and Europe, and therefore struggling to preserve what it perceived to be its essential identity. Geo-politics and genetics are therefore the basic ingredients to religion. Thus, please think of a spiritual understanding succeptible of reconciling the Palestinians and the Jews around a more synchretic and holistic vision of history, on which to build a more truthful and less mythical national identity, instead of promoting monotonous and obsolete Jewish myths. Same applies to Palestinians about Islamic or Christian myths. Religion is symbolic spirituality while philosophy is intellectual spirituality. And nationalism is the bridge between the two. Perhaps it is time to create a new nationalism based on our most ancient Canaanite forefathers. And based on this, Palestinians & Jews could rally the rest of the Levant into this new modernc of thinking platform. Arabism, Islamism and Zionism have failed, let us be realistic. We why to try Canaanite Levantism?

    • Hello Anton Abu Khalil,

      My ancestors are Christian from Bethlehem and Jerusalem.

      Please note that the Old Testament said:” “”To your descendants I will give this land.” Gen. 12:1-3

      The Lord did not say Judah, but all the descendants. Better to say Israel, that includes all the tribes with the various religions Christian, Moslem, Jewish, including the atheists!

      The Jewish historian says:

      Benjamin H. Freedman, Jewish Historian – Researcher – Scholar.

      “We know that Saul was the first king of Israel and that John was the first man called Baptist, but who was the first Jew? Neither Adam, Seth or Noah are called Jew. Nor were Abraham, Isaac or Jacob. Moses was not called a Jew and neither were Saul, David or Solomon called Jew. In fact you will not find the word Jew in the first eleven books of the Bible. The first time Jews are mentioned in the Bible, is in 2nd Kings 16:6 (and then only in translations revised in the eighteenth century) where we find Israel was at war with the Jews and drove the Jews from Elath. Isn’t it interesting that we can read over five hundred pages of the Bible before we find a Jew anywhere.

      We know that God changed the name of Abram to Abraham, Gen. 17:5 and that God changed the name of Jacob to Israel Gen. 32:28, but no where in the Bible do we find where God changed the name of Israel to Jew! ”

  12. Agree with the above post, although I did notice a few things that I wasn’t sure about;

    ‘Probably most Palestinians, and particularly Palestinian Christians, descend from Jewish converts of the Hellenic period (Maccabean & Hasmonean periods)’ – Not doubting you, but what evidence do you have for this ? There were a fairly significant number of Christian tribes from Yemen who came into the Levant as well so the idea that all/most Christian Palestinians and Levantine people are more native to the area than Muslims can be a shaky/divisive claim. The same was said in colonial times by European powers in Egypt regarding the Copts and Muslims. The view of some was that the Copts were the true sons of the Pharaohs and the Muslims were un-pure.

    ‘Instead, Jews are the descendents of those Canaanite men who kept wondering about their origins and the origins of this universe and would not accept that any other people and culture dominates them and their beleifs’ – Who were the Canaanites and what evidence is there that the Jewish people descended from them only ?
    I had always thought that the Israelites had come from outside what was then Canaan and conquered it.

    • Anton, I know that many Arabs with the name Khoury are descendants of Jewish Cohens, but what about the Ghassanids — those pre-Islam Arabs who migrated to eastern Palestine and converted to Christianity?

      Jamil, we Jews speak, read, and write a language nearly identical to ancient Canannite. Hebrew bears little resemblance to Coptic, Demonic, or any other Egyptian language. I think our story about coming from Egypt and conquering Canaan is exagerated. Don’t forget, in those days, it was considered glorious to come in and be the conquerors. I think that is why we over-developed the account of escaping Pharoa and conquering Canaan.

    • According to the book _The Bible Unearthed_, archaeological digs in the highlands of Israel/Palestine indicate that there was an ancient tribal people — probably Canaanite or a related group — who eschewed pork. There are no remains of pig bones in the “middens,” the trash heap, as there are in the middens of surrounding peoples. Among other evidence, this is considered a strong argument that a native group who may have mixed with immigrants (from Egypt or Babylonia/Mesopotamia, it is conjectured) provided one root for the Israelite people. Fascinating to consider.

  13. This finding was first published in a local LA based news paper called Beruit Times on No. 292, April 2-9, 1992.


    I wonder why no one acknowleged such Finding???

  14. Yes, bubelah, the Arabs called Palestinians and the Jews called Israelis are genetically related.
    Nope. Not a surprise.
    What’s really going to bake your noodle is that most of mankind is going to have “Jewish blood.”
    Probably including YOUR ancestors, you unfortunate disliker of those from whom you descend…
    Jews have always been the most assimilating people on planet Earth.
    Historians estimate that around the year O of the Common Era, 10% of the Roman Empire was Jewish – about 8 million Jews.
    Historians estimate that under the new Muslim Empire that encompassed most of the Middle East 800 years later, there were about 3 million Jews.
    That’s right, Mohammad – your granddaddy was Jewish!

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