Checking Taliban's Jewish Roots

Genetic experts in India believe a large group of Taliban Muslims could be descended of the lost Ten Tribes of Israel, and an Israeli rabbi agrees.

Hillel Fendel , | updated: 14:10

Experts at the National Institute of Immunohaematology in Mumbai, India believe a large group of Taliban Muslims might be descended of the lost Ten Tribes of Israel – and an Israeli rabbinical expert agrees.

Israel’s government is partially funding a genetic study to establish if there is any proof of the link, bringing an Indian expert in DNA profiling and population genetics to the Technion in Haifa. The expert, Shahnaz Ali, will be supervised by Israeli genetic research expert Prof. Karl Skorecki.

Rabbi Eliyahu Avichayil, who has dedicated his life to seeking out descendants of the Ten Tribes and bringing them to Israel, says he does not need or trust genetic testing for this purpose: “Rashi’s explanation to Jeremiah 31, 20 implies that the way to identify the Ten Lost Tribes will be via the Jewish customs that they maintain – and in this case, there are many of them.”

Rabbi Avichayil says that the Jewish-like customs that have been found among the Pathans - many of whom are now of the Taliban tribe - include sidelocks, ritual circumcision at eight days, cities of refuge for accidental killers, four-cornered garments, ritual immersion for women, and more. They also practice levirate marriage - not according to Moslem custom, which allows for various relatives of the deceased to marry a widow, whether or not she has children, but rather closer to Jewish custom, in that only brothers can marry only childless-widows.

The very name of the Afridi tribe, of which many members belong to the Taliban, indicates its origin from the Israelite Tribe of Ephraim, Rabbi Avichayil says. “The Pathans,  22 million strong, include not only the Afridic tribe, some 7.5 million people, but also the Rabanis, the Gadis, the Asheris, etc. – indications that many of them are of the Ten Tribes.”

Asked if we now have to consider the possibility of absorbing millions of Moslems from the east, including Talibanis, Rabbi Avichayil said, “I originally thought that it would be sufficient to merely have a small representation of each tribe, and then the Messiah could take care of the rest. But I was then encouraged by the Lubavitcher Rebbe to continue bringing more and more – but some basic conditions must still be met, such as good absorption arrangements – not as there were with the Ethiopians – and of course a willingness on their part. I met with some Afridi members in Washington, and they were very enthusiastic about what I was saying. If I saw that some of them were interested in converting and living a Jewish lifestyle, I would immediately do what I could to help them come here.”

Regarding Al Qaeda terrorist leader and mass murderer Osama Bin Laden, Rabbi Avichayil said, "No need for concern; he's not from these tribes, but rather hails from Yemen and Saudi Arabia."