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Origin of the Jews

New Genetic Research Confirms Koestler's 'Khazar' Theory

by Ted Pike (2012)

Preamble by MLT

This ministry does not accept all the propositions made or conclusions drawn by Ted Pike who makes the common mistake of calling all 12 Tribes of Israel 'Jewish' when in fact only one tribe is, namely, Judah, and even then this is 'Judahite'. He also makes no reference to the vast majority of Judahites and their descendants who were taken into exile with the northern tribes by the Assyrians. Those of Sephardic descent are, moreover, not only a 'mixed company' like the Ashkenazi themselves (having intermarried with 'gentiles' across the Roman Empire and Europe over the centuries) but in reality are not even the whole of Judah but only the descendants of Judahite Jerusalem which were taken captive by the Babylonians. The vast bulk of the descendants of tribal Judah went into Europe with Joseph-Ephraim after the Assyrians had deported the bulk of rural Judea. Therefore it would be wrong to describe the Sephardi as the exclusive Judahites let alone to necessary call them 'Jews' - see What is a Jew? and Jacob's Trouble for the complete picture. Finally, true Israel is not a political entity before Messiah returns but a spiritual one consistingn of those who follow Messiah and obey the Torah. Nevertheless these articles of Ted Pike are of great importance especially concerning the now incontrovertible genetic evidence supporting Arthur Köstler's original thesis.

Until the early 1980s, like millions of Christians, I believed the racial purity of the Jewish people confirmed Scripture. I saw it as vindicating Biblical prophecy that the Jewish people would not cease to exist. I was forced to reconsider by the compelling evidence of Arthur Koestler's book The Thirteenth Tribe. Koestler’s thesis has been highly contested, but today new evidence is emerging to support it.

Koestler [himself a Jew] said that in about the 8th century AD the Khazars, a nation living in Central Urasia, converted to Judaism. They migrated to Poland and created the eastern European or “Ashkenazim” branch of Jewry. This would have been the largest influx of Gentile converts of all time. Koestler concluded that most Zionist Jews today, being Ashkenazim, have no genetic inheritance from Abraham; they are proselytes who seized land in Palestine that never belonged to their true ancestors.

For more than a decade most genetic researchers have rejected Koestler. They said the Ashkenazim (9 million in 1900) were not descendants of Gentile converts but came primarily from a small (50,000) 15th century population of Jews in Germany. Evangelicals and Jews also rejected Koestler’s thesis, because it diminishes the racial purity central to land claims of Zionists. In their support, genetic testing over the past decade revealed that modern Ashkenazim are highly genetically related to modern Sephardim (authentic Jews). It became clear that most Jews, both Sephardic and Ashkenazim, can claim blood from the Middle East. It was also found that nearly half of Ashkenazim claiming to be descendants of the "Kohanim" (Old Testament Levitical priests) possessed "Y" chromosomes that indeed originate in Israelite roots.

New Research Returns to Koestler

But in 2012, a major genetic study of Ashkenazim was led by Johns Hopkins geneticist Eran Israeli-Elhaik. It concentrates on the compelling genetic evidence that eastern European Jewry's roots are not just in the Mid-East but, perhaps even more so, in the Caucasus, the mountainous heartland of ancient Khazaria. (See The Missing Link of Jewish European Ancestry: Contrasting the Rhineland and the Khazarian Hypotheses)

Elhaik says that because of dissatisfaction with current theory he and others are forced to look again at the possibility that the Mid-East and Semitic genes present in eastern European Jewry may primarily have come from the east. His team is compelled to research this possibility because genetic testing of Ashkenazim continues to reveal a high percentage of genes particular only to the relatively isolated, mountainous region of the Caucasus. Having completed a thorough genetic study of Ashkenazim worldwide, he is launching an even more extensive analysis in his Khazar DNA Project, specializing in testing Jews from the region of Khazaria itself.

Elhaik and others pose fresh ideas that could unravel the question of just how Ashkenazim could come to inherit such a high percentage of Jewish genes, as well as how eastern European Jewry attained such staggeringly high numbers from such a small Jewish population in Germany only 500 years earlier.

Here are some of Dr. Elhaik's conclusions as a result of his first genetic study of Ashkenazim:

    "Early German historians bridged the historical gap simply by linking modern Jews directly to the ancient Judeans (Figure 1); a paradigm that was quickly embedded in medical science and crystallized as a narrative. Many have challenged this narrative (Koestler 1976; Straten 2007), mainly by showing that a sole Judean ancestry cannot account for the vast population of Eastern European Jews in the beginning of the 20th century without the major contribution of Judaized Khazars and by demonstrating that it is in conflict with anthropological, historical, and genetic evidence (Dinur 1961; Patai and Patai 1975; Baron 1993).

    "...the question of European Jewish ancestry remained debated mainly between the supporters of the Rhineland and Khazarian Hypotheses. The recent availability of genomic data of Caucasus populations (Behar et al. 2010) allowed testing the Khazarian Hypothesis for the first time and prompted us to contrast the Rhineland and Khazarian Hypotheses. To evaluate the two hypotheses, we carried out a series of comparative analyses between European Jews and surrogate Khazarian and Judean populations posing the same question each time: are Eastern and Central European Jews genetically closer to Caucasus or Middle Eastern populations?

    "Our PC, biogeographical estimation, admixture, IBD, ASD, and uniparental analyses were consistent in depicting a Caucasus ancestry for European Jews. Our first analyses revealed tight genetic relationship of European Jews and Caucasus populations and pinpointed the biogeographical origin of European Jews to the south of Khazaria (Figures 3,4). Our later analyses yielded a complex multi-ethnical ancestry with a slightly dominant Near Eastern-Caucasus ancestry, large Southern European and Middle Eastern ancestries, and a minor Eastern European contribution…

    "We show that the Khazarian Hypothesis offers a comprehensive explanation to the results…By contrast, the Rhineland Hypothesis could not explain the large Caucasus component in European Jews, which is rare in Non-Caucasus populations (Figure 5) and the large IBD regions shared between European Jews and Caucasus populations attesting to their common origins. A major difficulty with the Rhineland Hypothesis, in addition to the lack of historical and anthropological evidence to the multi-migration waves from Palestine to Europe (Straten 2003; Sand 2009), is to explain the vast population expansion of Eastern European Jews from 50 thousand (15th century) to 8 million (20th century). This growth could not possibly be the product of natural population expansion (Koestler 1976; Straten 2007), particularly one subjected to severe economic restrictions, slavery, assimilation, the Black Death and other plagues, forced and voluntary conversions, persecutions, kidnappings, rapes, exiles, wars, massacres, and pogroms (Koestler 1976; Sand 2009). Such an unnatural growth rate (1.7-2% annually) over half a millennia, affecting only Jews residing in Eastern Europe is commonly explained by a miracle (Atzmon et al. 2010). Unfortunately, this divine intervention explanation poses a new kind of problem - it is not science. Our findings reject the Rhineland Hypothesis and uphold the thesis that Eastern European Jews are Judeo-Khazars in origin. Further studies are necessary to confirm the magnitude of the Khazars demographic contribution to the demographic presence of Jews in Europe (Polak 1951; Dinur 1961; Koestler 1976; Baron 1993; Brook 2006)."

Elhaik says Jews migrated in large numbers during the Middle Ages into Khazaria, both to escape Catholic persecution and as missionaries.

    "Greco-Roman and Mesopotamian Jews gravitating toward Khazaria were also common in the early centuries and their migrations were intensified following the Khazars’ conversion to Judaism (Polak 1951; Brook 2006; Sand 2009). The eastward male-driven migrations (Figure 7) from Europe to Khazaria solidified the exotic Southern European ancestry in the Khazarian gene pool, (Figure 5) and increased the genetic heterogeneity of the Judeo-Khazars. The religious conversion of the Khazars encompassed all the Empire’s citizens and subordinate tribes and lasted for the next 400 years (Polak 1951; Baron 1993) until the invasion of the Mongols (Polak 1951; Dinur 1961; Brook 2006). At the final collapse of their empire (13th century), the Judeo-Khazars fled to Eastern Europe and later migrated to Central Europe and admixing with the neighboring populations.

    "Historical and archeological findings shed light on the demographic events followed the Khazars’ conversion. During the half millennium (740–1250 CE) of their existence, the Judeo-Khazars sent offshoots into the Slavic lands, such as Romania and Hungary (Baron 1993), planting the seeds of a great Jewish community to later rise in the Khazarian diaspora. We hypothesize that the settlement of Judeo-Khazars in Eastern Europe was achieved by serial founding events, whereby populations expanded from the Caucasus into Eastern and Central Europe by successive splits, with daughter populations expanding to new territories following changes in socio-political conditions (Gilbert 1993). As a result, the Jewish communities along the Caucasus borders appear more heterogeneous than other Jewish communities (Table 1), assuming an even and low admixture rate.

    "After the decline of their Empire, the Judeo-Khazars refugees sought shelter in the emerging Polish Kingdom and other Eastern European communities, where their expertise in economics, finances, and politics were valued. Prior to their exodus, the Judeo-Khazar population was estimated to be half a million in size, the same as the number of Jews in the Polish-Lithuanian kingdom four centuries later (Polak 1951; Koestler 1976). Some Judeo-Khazars were left behind, mainly in the Crimea and the Caucasus, where they formed Jewish enclaves surviving into modern times. One of the dynasties of Jewish princes ruled in the 15th century under the tutelage of the Genovese Republic and later of the Crimean Tartars. Another vestige of the Khazar nation are the "Mountain Jews" in the North Eastern Caucasus (Koestler 1976). In the 16th century the total Jewish population of the world amounted to about one million, suggesting that during the Middle Ages the majority of Jews were Judeo-Khazars in origin (Polak 1951; Koestler 1976).

    "The remarkable close proximity of European Jews and populations residing on the opposite ends of ancient Khazaria, such as Armenians, Georgians, Azerbaijani Jews, and Druze (Figures 3, S2-3, 5), supports a common Near Eastern-Caucasus ancestry. These findings are not explained by the Rhineland Hypothesis and are staggering due to the uneven demographic processes these populations experienced in the past eight centuries.

    "Overall, the similarity between European Jews and Caucasus populations underscores the genetic continuity that exists among Eurasian Jewish and non-Jewish Caucasus populations…Our findings support a large-scale conversion scenario that influenced the majority of the population.

    "Finally, our findings confirm both oral narratives and the canonical Jewish literature describing the Khazar’s conversion to Judaism and the Judeo-Khazarian ancestry of European Jews (e.g., Sefer ha-Ittim by Rabbi Jehudah ben Barzillai [1100] , Sefer ha-Kabbalah by Abraham ben Daud [1161 CE], and The Khazars by Rabbi Jehudah Halevi [1140 CE]) (Polak 1951; Koestler 1976). We emphasize that we do not intend to cast doubt on Behar’s et al. (2010). and Atzmon et al.’s (2010) remarkable findings, but rather propose a comprehensive interpretation that explains the patterns they observed in whole genome data, those reported in the literature for uniparental data, and those observed here using both types of data. The point in these studies is that European Jews had a single Middle Eastern origin [that] is incomplete as neither study tested the Khazarian Hypothesis, to the extent done here.

    "Irrespective of these limitations [of possessing authentic Khazarian or Jewish genomes], our results were robust across diverse types of analyses, and we hope that they will provide new perspectives for genetic, disease, medical, and anthropological studies.

    Our findings support the Khazarian Hypothesis depicting a large Caucasus ancestry along with Southern European, Middle Eastern, and Eastern European ancestries, in agreement with recent studies and oral and written traditions. We conclude that the genome of European Jews is a tapestry of ancient populations including Judaized Khazars, Greco-Romans and Mesopotamian Jews, and Judeans and that their population structure was formed in the Caucasus and the banks of the Volga with roots stretching to Canaan and the banks of the Jordan."

In summary, Koestler posited migration, primarily into Poland, of a genetically Khazarian but spiritually Jewish nation of Khazars. Elhaik's research reveals that eastern European Ashkenazim (90% of Jews today) are a mixture of Khazarian and Jewish genes. Koestler revealed to the world a tremendous truth. Like all truths, it is subject to clarification with time.

Do the Khazars Destroy God’s Plan for the Jews?

In my 2006 article The Khazars: Do They Destroy God’s Plan for the Jews? (also see the end of this article) I point out that the Khazar conversion to Judaism does nothing to destroy God’s prophetic plan for redemption of a remnant of Jews at Christ’s coming.

In Genesis 21:18 God promised Abraham’s surrogate wife, the Egyptian Hagar, that her son Ishmael’s offspring would become a “great nation.” Today's Arabs number 340 million.In contrast, God warned the Hebrews at Sinai that if they rebelled against Him He would curse them by making them a very small people (Deut. 28:62).

Today, after 3500 years, Sephardim, the most authentic descendants of Abraham, are only about 10% of those who call themselves Jews – a tiny 1.3 million – actually less than Moses brought out of Egypt! It is clear how withering has been God's curse on those who killed the Son of God in contrast to those He said He would bless.

In addition, God warned that He would bring in aliens who would live in the midst of the Jews, perpetually dominating and oppressing them (Deut. 28:43). This is exactly what the hybridized Ashkenazi Khazars have done. As the primary founders and leaders of modern Israel, they have consistently discriminated against the Sephardim, commonly treating them as second-class citizens, like Arabs.

Sephardim, however, as revealed in statements by the Sephardic Shahs party and its leader, Rabbi Ovadia Yoseph, are Talmudic/Kabbalistic hardliners, siding with the Ultra-Orthodox Ashkenazi Haridim. They militate for a greater Israel excluding Arabs. Because of the smallness of their numbers, they could never achieve their Talmudic goal of world governance without the massive influx of Khazarian political/revolutionary zeal, communications expertise, and commercial and financial genius. Ashkenazim, in fact, have become the real revolutionary force creating communism and media, government, and financial control, propelling us toward a Jewish world government. Truly, as Christ predicted, the medieval Judean descendants of the Pharisees, "compassing sea and land" to convert the Khazars, made them seven times more the children of hell than they were (Matt. 23:15).

From this we see a continuing pattern: Biblical prophecy is fulfilled before our eyes yet often in very different ways than conventional evangelical eschatology perceives it.

The duty of every true Christian is to remain flexible and receptive to new and unorthodox information but always regard the testimony of Scripture as the final authority. God is a God of truth, and His truth undergirds Scripture. When we give ourselves to God and a sincere search for reality, the truth can be found. As we see with the Khazar puzzle, God and the Bible continue to be vindicated.

The Khazars: Do They Destroy
God’s Plan for the Jews?

by Ted Pike (2006)

For more than a century, Zionists have claimed that modern Jews are entitled to Palestine because they are legitimate descendants of Abraham. Devout Christians and devout Jews both believe God’s plan for Israel involves a racially authentic Jewry.

That’s why Jewish novelist Arthur Koestler’s 1976 book, The Thirteenth Tribe, was a political and theological bombshell. Koestler reveals how the central Eurasian nation, Khazaria, converted to Judaism in 740 AD. These 2 million Turkish warriors and traders became at least as devout as actual (Sephardic-Oriental) Jews, whose genetic lines trace back to Abraham. The Khazars soon convinced themselves that they really were authentic Jews.

Today, Koestler asserts, most “Jews” worldwide are primarily descended from these ancient Turks - not Abraham! What does this mean for the millions of American Christians so eager to bless the children of Abraham? Has this Khazar corruption of Jewish blood also corrupted God’s plan for the Jews?

In this special report, I will conclude that the Khazar merger is a fact of history, but that it didn’t destroy God’s plan for the Jews at all. Far from it! The conversion of these 2 million Gentiles actually fulfilled Bible prophecy, and powerfully confirms God’s timeless ethical covenant with His chosen people.

Koestler’s Controversial Claims

Many Christians and Jews felt deeply threatened by Koestler’s thesis. Scholars and genetic studies [1] attempted to debunk it. Yet historian and author Kevin Alan Brook has extensively documented Koestler’s basic thesis. And in his fascinating book, The Jews of Khazaria, Brook has confirmed Koestler in a way that many Jews find surprisingly acceptable.

At www.khazaria.com, Brook offers a treasury of ancient commentaries on the Khazarian conversion. He also provides statements by dozens of scholars over the past century who confirm Koestler.

Jewish and Slavonic historians by the dozens have accepted the Khazar origins of eastern European Jewry. Recent archeology reveals how the Khazar converts migrated to eastern Europe, especially Poland. There, they helped create the massive eastern European Ashkenazi “Jewish” populations. Millions of their descendants immigrated to America around the turn of the 20th century, and attained wealth in business, government, and media. [2]

Brook quotes this 1962 statement by the Jewish Journal of Sociology, which is typical of many: “Polish scholars agree that the oldest (Polish Jewish) settlements were founded by Jewish emigres from the Khazar state and Russia while the Jews from Southern and Western Europe began to arrive and settle only later…and that a certain proportion at least of the Jewish population (in earlier times, the main bulk) originated from the east, from the Khazar country…” [3]

God's Purpose for the Khazars

How does Koestler's thesis affect God’s plan for the Jews?

As the Hebrews approached the Promised Land 3,500 years ago, God warned them that they had a choice: obey God and be blessed and dwell in the land, or disobey Him and be cursed and exiled. One of many ways God said He will curse a disobedient Jewish nation is by keeping them very small. “Then you shall be left few in number, whereas you were as the stars of heaven for multitude, because you did not obey the Lord your God.” (Deut. 28:62)

Israel did not obey God. She crucified her Lord and spiritual husband, Jesus Christ - screaming, “His blood be upon us and upon our children!” For their disobedience, the Jews incurred the curse of remaining small in number. This curse remains in effect today.

During the Exodus, the Hebrew population was about 2 million [4], swelling to about 5-1/2 million in the time of David, 500 years later. What is the population of Jews descended from the tribe of Judah and Benjamin today? 2,950,000. [5] Incredibly, after three and a half millenia, authentic Jews number only 950,000 more than when Moses led them out of Egypt! That's a gain of less than 300 new people per year.

Contrast such anemic population growth with the posterity of another descendant of Abraham: Ishmael. The father of the Arab world was the offspring of Abraham’s union with Sarah’s maid, an Egyptian of Hamitic not Semitic stock. In contrast to the racially authentic yet rebellious descendants of Judah, God said He would magnify the descendants of the half-breed, Ishmael. “…I will multiply thy seed exceedingly that it shall not be numbered for multitude.” (Gen 16:10) What’s the population of the Arab world today? Between 200 and 300 million! 6 At 250 million, that is an increase of 62,500 per year! Truly, God’s promise of blessing and cursing could not be more powerfully fulfilled.

The curse of smallness, which clings to racially authentic Jewry today, is not a hereditary weakness. Exodus records that when God had "respect" for the Hebrews, they enjoyed prolific powers of reproduction, even as Egyptian slaves. They increased from several hundred to several million 400 years later.

Today, Jewish inability to keep up with the phenomenal powers of Arab reproduction is a source of chronic frustration to the people of Israel and their leaders.

Israel to be Oppressed

God also threatened that “aliens” would perpetually rule over Israel if she did not obey. “The alien who is among you shall rise above you higher and higher, but you shall go down lower and lower. He shall lend to you but you shall not lend to him: He shall be the head and you shall be the tail.” (Deut. 28:43,4)

In 740 AD (or, as some experts contend, about a century later), Khazar “aliens” invaded Judaism in a bizarre twist of divine judgment. They did not do so territorially but spiritually and genetically. Like the ancient Philistines stealing the ark of the covenant, the Khazars appropriated the Talmud and Cabala (Zohar), the promises of Abraham, and even the name “Jew.” Swelling into a world population now estimated at 11.2 million 7, modern Ashkenazim, the primary force behind 20th century Zionism, dominate the government, military, economic, and religious authority of Israel. 950,000 authentic Jews in Israel [8], outnumbered 3 to 1, are largely excluded and discriminated against by the Khazar ruling majority [9], which totals about 3.7 million. Friction smolders between both groups.

In his book, The Life of an American Jew in Racist, Marxist Israel, American Ashkenazi Jack Bernstein recounts discrimination which he suffered after marrying a Sephardic. He says that next to Arabs and Christians, Sephardim are most discriminated against in Israel (p.7).

The most horrific example of Ashkenazi oppression of Sephardim occurred in the early 1950s. The US government needed human guinea pigs to test radiation levels; they contracted with the Ashkenazi leaders of Israel, in exchange for what would today be billions of dollars, to conduct such tests on nearly all Sephardic children living in Israel. One hundred thousand Sephardic children were subjected to nearly lethal levels of radiation, ostensibly to cure head lice. The tests killed 6,000 outright, and caused cancerous tumors and manifold afflictions to the rest. [10]

Jews are Here for the Duration

Despite persecution and the threat of assimilation, relatively authentic Jews are still very much in the world. They fulfill Christ’s prophecy that “this generation (race) shall not pass away until all things be fulfilled.” (Matt. 24:34) Yet, contrary to expectations, they are encapsulated as a repressed minority within a much larger, more aggressive Gentile majority. In a bizarre symbiosis, Khazars carry racially authentic Jews with them toward fulfillment of anti-Christ objectives. Under God’s curse to remain small, the Sephardic-Oriental would never be able to attain such goals on their own. Such shared ambitions include their prophesied ascendancy over the nations (Ezekiel 38, 39), rebuilding their temple in Jerusalem, and receiving their false messiah - anti-Christ, who will sit in their temple, proclaiming himself to be God (Matt. 24:15, 2 Thess. 2:4).

To make all this possible, God allowed the Khazar hordes to be engrafted - a nation of high intelligence and creativity but also historically possessing a dominant, warlike nature as well as skill and rapacious instinct toward commerce and finance. Incredibly, they became even more devoted proprietors of the Talmud and especially Cabala, using them as fuel for their own racism and revolution.

One of the reasons Israeli Ashkenazim resent Sephardic-Orientals is that they became part of Zionism much later, largely after statehood of Israel in 1948. Historically, Sephardic-Orientals disagreed with the Zionist-Christian Evangelical assertion that obedience to God is no longer a prerequisite for Jews to occupy Palestine. Such primarily Orthodox Jews believed they were in exile because of their sins. They claimed that only when Messiah comes, persuading the Jewish people into repentance, would a truly obedient Jewry be allowed back into God’s promised land. However, with the spectacular successes of Zionism, most Sephardics capitulated. The Ashkenazi leadership has not forgotten or forgiven their hesitancy. As a result, authentic Jews in Israel remain under the heel of the Khazar aliens in perfect fulfillment of Deuteronomy 28. They are literally the tail, while the Khazars are the head.

Who, then, constitute that repentant “Jewish” remnant so often prophesied to repent at Christ’s second coming? Will the Khazars be included?

Christ, in Ezekiel 47, speaking out of His coming millennial temple as He rules in Jerusalem, gives the answer. “And it will come about that you shall divide by lot for an inheritance among yourselves and among the aliens [Khazars] who stay in your midst. And they shall be to you as the native-born among the sons of Israel: they shall be allotted an inheritance with you among the sons of Israel.” (Ezek 47:22) Christ makes it clear that, as in the Old Testament, Gentiles who earnestly adhere to Judaism, even in its apostate condition, can do so and be counted in the Jewish nation.

Is God Finished with National Israel?

Since Koestler’s revelations, various political and theological critics of Zionism have seized upon the Khazars as proof that whatever destiny God had for Israel has now been destroyed by Khazar admixture.

Yet God is full of new mercies. Thousands of years ago, He and many great prophets and godly men and women labored, largely in vain, to bring forth a meager harvest of righteousness from the dry rocky soil of Israel's unbelief. The Pharisees, in their Talmud, call Jesus “a fool,” mocking His claim that He will ultimately receive obedience from the Jewish people (Sanh. 67a). Many today believe Jews have become so wicked and corrupting that it is inconceivable they should someday experience a mass outpouring of grace from the One their fathers crucified and reviled.

But Jesus Christ is the Redeemer who extends love to the vilest sinner who calls upon Him for mercy. He formed the Jewish people to show forth the riches of His love to all nations. He will not be frustrated in that ambition, even by the depths of their apostasy.

Don't be astonished, then, that He can miraculously save a remnant of Jews. It is a miracle that any of us are saved.

He has saved the Jews before. He can do it again.

End Notes

[1] The Y chromosome in males and mitochondrial DNA in females never changes. Consquently, despite the genetic shuffle of the centuries, it is possible to identify the general genetic make-up of the founders of an ethnic group.

At least three major genetic studies, Hammer et al. (2000), Goldstein et al. (2002), and Behar et al. (2004), attempted to determine Jewish origins. Their results are sometimes contradictory and puzzling even to geneticists. Yet Goldstein and Behar agree on one thing: the founding mothers of Sephardim were very different from those of Ashkenazim. All agree that it is "likely" that the male founding ancestors of Ashkenazim were largely of Mid-East origins - more so than the ancestors of Caucasian Europeans.

This suggests a plausible scenario explaining the presence of Mideast genes within the European Ashkenazim.

With conversion of the Khazars, history records an intense demand by the Khazarians themselves for Rabbinic teachers to instruct them in the requirements of a very complex religion.

Twelfth century Sephardic writer Yehuda HaLevi said the Khazars were "eager to learn the Jewish law… They sent to various countries for scholars and books and studied the Torah… They also honored and cherished the Israelites who lived among them." (The Kuzari: The Book of Proof and Argument in Defense of the Despised Faith, HaLevi)

"Rabbis were then invited to come and teach Jewish laws and customs to the Jewish Khazars. During the 200 years of the existence of this Jewish kingdom, most of the Khazars had learned the Jewish religion and were living in accordance with its laws." (Mordecai Soloff, How the Jewish People Grew Up, Cincinnati, Ohio, The Union of American-Hebrew Congregations 1936, p. 219-221)

It is inconceivable that the transformation of possibly two million idolatrous Khazars into zealous Jewish proselytes could be facilitated and sustained for two centuries without thousands of Rabbinic teachers. Such must have consisted primarily of the priestly class, the "Kohanim." These teachers were highly intelligent Talmudists. They were by definition male and most likely single, being visitors from distant lands such as Spain and Babylon. Khazarian women were famous for their beauty, prized as wives by Byzantine nobility. This was a perfect setting for pairing of Semitic genes with Gentile.

Constantine Akropolites (1250-1324) revealed that Khazars and Jews of the East may have freely intermarried. Jewish Khazars of Constantinople did intermarry and become fully integrated into the Jewish district, in contrast to Sephardim in the west. See The Legend of St. Zotikos according to N. Constantine Akropolite, ed. Timothy S. Miller, 1994, p.339-376.

Goldstein’s 2002 study of the origins of Ashkenazi women indicated they had many founding mothers and such possessed widely diversed genes. This harmonizes with the fact that Khazar women, living in a major international trading center, lacked any tradition of racial exclusivity.

The Khazarians would also have received Hebrew DNA from another major source. Surrounding the period of initial Khazar conversion, large populations of Jews were expelled from Asia Minor and the Byzantine empire. They took refuge in their new "promised land," Khazaria.

A final thought: One wonders why DNA from the bones of 9th century Khazar graves has not been extracted and compared to DNA of eastern European "Jewry." Such research might help resolve a debate which has too long remained contentious.

[2] Medieval Rabbinic authorities of the Sephardim in Toledo, Spain, were aware of the Khazars and made it clear that they did not grant equality to them. They discouraged intermarriage. Such geographic, cultural and spiritual separation is revealed in the following statement to me by Khazar authority Muhammad Rafik: "The medieval German (and in fact all western European) Jews were not in contact with eastern European "Jewry." This can be easily demonstrated by the medieval synod of France, where the leading rabbis of Europe would congregate… Of over 100 attending rabbis at the 11th and 12th century synod, not one was from eastern Europe or even Poland. They all came from Germany, Italy, France, Spain, the Netherlands, and England."

Yet in The Jews of Khazaria, Brook expands our awareness of how small numbers of Jews entered medieval eastern Europe, largely from southern lands and as a result of persecution under the Crusades and Inquisition. They found relative safety in the more tolerant Slavic countries of eastern Europe. However, he agrees with many authorities that such numbers of authentic Jews vastly swelled as German Sephardim migrated into Khazar-dominated Poland in the 15th and 16th centuries. Partly as a result of the more permissive intermarriage practices allowed by Maimonides, authentic and Polish Khazar Jewry at last significantly melded. In time, such Khazar-Sephardim radiated westward, creating the stereotypic "German Jews," often resented by Sephardim of the west for their aggressiveness.

In Khazar-dominated countries of eastern Europe outside Poland, the genes of the founding Khazars remained much less diluted. Around the turn of the last century, such Khazar Ashkenazim joined a horde of European Jewish immigrants to America.

[3] Adam Vetulani, in his article, The Jews of Medieval Poland, in Jewish Journal of Sociology, volume 4 (December 1962), page 274.

[4] Motivated by military considerations, Moses' census, Num. 1:46, records 603,550 "sons of Israel… from 20 years old and upward, whoever was able to go out to war in Israel." Add an equal number of women of that age (603,550) plus young people under the age of 20 (perhaps 500,000) plus elderly and infirm over 60 (250,000). Total: 1, 957,100. The number of Hebrews in the exodus, not counting a "mixed multitude" (Ex. 12:38) of Gentiles surely totaled about several million.

[5] Encyclopedia of the Orient, “Sephardi”

[6] Wikipedia, “Arab”

[7] Wikipedia, “Ashkenazi”

[8] Encyclopedia of the Orient, “Sephardi”

[9] The Christian Science Monitor reports, "…years of discrimination against Sephardic Jews in education, jobs, housing, and other areas by Israel's mostly Ashkenazi, or European Jewish elite." (Jen Lynfield, "The Shahs of Israel Rise to Prominence," April 4, 2000.

Similarly, "In Israel, political tensions continue to persist because of feelings on the part of many Sephardim that they have been discriminated against and still don't get the respect they deserve. Historically, [the] political elite of the nation have been Ashkenazim..." Jewish Virtual Library, "Ashkenazim," by Shira Schoenberg, p. 3, 2006.

Despite recent increase in voting power provided by the powerful Sephardic Shahs party, an angry Sephardic cries out, "They gave us homes, they gave us the dirty work; they gave us education, and they took away our self-respect. What did they bring my parents to Israel for? …Wasn't it to do your dirty work? You didn't have Arabs then, so you needed our parents to do your cleaning and be your servants and laborers… You exploited and disgraced us for thirty years. You brought a million donkeys to ride on." (Beyond the Promised Land, Glen Frankel, p. 143)

[10] Rense.com, Zionists Poisoned/Radiated 100K Jewish Children, by Barry Chamish, 08/17/05.

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This page was created on 18 September 2012
Last updated on 18 September 2012

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