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Thursday, June 26, 2014

Found Lost Tribe of Israel Right in Israel Since 1950-52: Jewish Kurds

Nadene Goldfoot                                                                 

Beginning , in about 740 BCE, the Northern Kingdom of Israel was conquered by the Neo-Assyrian monarchs, Tiglath-Pileser III (Pul) and Shalmaneser V

By 722-721 BCE, nearly twenty years after the initial deportations, the ruling city of the Northern Kingdom of Israel, Samaria, was finally taken by Sargon II after a three-year siege started by Shalmaneser V.  The Assyrian Empire attacked Israel in 721 BCE and led most of the best of the 10 tribes of Israel off into captivity. Assyrian cuneiform states that 27,290 captives were taken from Samaria,  the capital of the Northern Kingdom of Israel, by the hand of Sargon II.

Some of them  wound up in Kurdistan long ago.  The Jews of Kurdistan migrated to Palestine during the past centuries, but the majority  fled to Israel together with the Iraqi Jewish in Operation Ezra and Operation Nehemiah during 1950 to 1952.  "It has been estimated that before the establishment of the State of Israel there were between 20,000 and 30,000 Jews living in Kurdistan."

The Jews had formed the Kingdom of Adiabene in northern Mesopotamia in the 1st century BCE.  It became an independent kingdom.  Their queen was Helena who was converted to Judaism in 30 CE with her sons, Kings Monobaz II and Izates, who supported the Jews during the war against the Romans from 66 to 70 CE.  The tombs of the Kings in Jerusalem was their burial place.

Later they just faded into obscurity only to reappear in the Middle Ages.  One of many accounts of the period about them was the story of David Alroy, a Jewish leader from Amadiyah in the 12th century who revolted against the Persian rulers and tried to recapture Jerusalem.
Many centuries later they were found to have lived as protected subjects of the Kurdish tribal chieftains called aghas and survived in the urban centers and villages in which they lived.
 Kurds are known to be the closest match to Jews by DNA.  "Scientists who participated in the research said the findings seem to indicate both peoples had common ancestors who lived in the northern half of the fertile crescent, where northern Iraq and Turkey are today. Some of them, it is assumed, wandered south in pre-historic times and settled on the eastern shores of the Mediterranean.--Professor Ariella Oppenheim and Dr. Marina Feirman, who carried out the research at the Hebrew University, said they were surprised to find a closer genetic connection between the Jews and the populations of the fertile crescent than between the Jews and their Arab neighbors.  "In the article by Nebel et al.  the authors show that Kurdish and Sephardi Jews have paternal genetic heritage indistinguishable. The study shows that mixtures between Kurdish Jews and their Muslim hosts are negligible and that Kurdish Jews are closer to other Jewish groups than to their long term host population. Mr. Hammer had already shown the strong correlation between the genetic heritage of Jews from North Africa with Kurdish Jews

According to Mordechai Zaken, Kurdistani Jews survived by supporting their tribal chieftains and village aghas in times of need the through financial contributions, occasional gifts, many services as well as taxes and dues in the form of commissions of their commercial and agricultural transactions.

For they  got protection and grant them patronage in the tribal arena.  Some wealthy Jewish merchants and leaders had to deal at times with the aghas who coveted their vineyards or other things and who took what they wanted.  It became a tribal tradition to live that way; protect the Jews who provided them with treats.

These Jews spoke a different language from the main Kurdish populace, and they knew that their ancestors came from Israel, but they still thought of themselves as Kurdish Jews.  That's why they finally returned home.

One interesting note:  According to 2nd Chronicles, Chapter 30, there is evidence that at least some people of the Northern Kingdom of Israel were not exiled. These were invited by king Hezekiah (720-692 BCE) to keep the Passover in a feast at Jerusalem with the Judean population.

However, Assyria had been conquered by Babylon, and Babylon had been conquered by the Medo-Persians.
"According to the Books of Chronicles chapter 9 line 3, the Israelites, who took part in The Return to Zion, are stated to be from the Tribe of Judah alongside the Tribe of Simeon that was absorbed into it, the Tribe of Benjamin, theTribe of Levi (Levites and Priests) alongside the tribes of Ephraim and Manasseh, which according to the Book of Kings2 Chapter 7 were supposedly exiled by the Assyrians. (The Biblical scholars Umberto Cassuto and Elia Samuele Artom claimed these two tribes' names to be a reference to the remnant of all Ten Tribes that was not exiled and absorbed into the Judean population)."  Therefore, in Judah were the remnant of some of the other lost tribes.  Not all had been taken and lost.  

"There are not many female rabbis in the Jewish history. The first known female rabbi in the history is Asenath Barzanî, a Kurdish woman from South Kurdistan."
Asenath Barzanî was born in 1590. She was the daughter of the Rabbi of the Jews in the south Kurdistan Samuel Barzanî, who trained his daughter and taught her the mystic secrets of Judaism which he never revealed to anyone.                    
File photo
According to the historians, Asenath Barzanî wrote in his biography: “During my entire life I did not step out of the house. I was the daughter of the King of Israel. I was educated by rabbis. My father was focusing too much on me that he did not teach me any art or handicraft but divinity.”

The Standard  Jewish Encyclopedia

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