I’m Jewish, or maybe we’re really not

An interesting thing happened while I fell in line recently and did what so many others are doing in Israel and abroad. I agreed to have my DNA swab the cheek test done. Although I am recognized in Israel as a Jew, I was not prepared for the journey and information which came in my results 4 weeks later. I am sure most of those in Israel who have taken the test were also very surprised. I could not get my test results given to me because “in Israel the computers are locked”. So in other words tech has it so that when they see an Israeli address you are automatically locked out for your results! Fancy that, and we are a democratic country so we must delve deeper into this strange phenomenon going on daily in Israel under our noses. I do however understand the reason for Israel being locked out of such information. We really did bring it on ourselves.

I had first tried a large DNA company and the results were fascinating. I am Middle Eastern, Spanish and Portuguese with much English, Irish, welsh Eastern European, North European, West Asia (Turkey Iran and Kurdish caucuses) Finish, Russian and Israeli, by blood. My mind raced as I tried to place my ancestors in a mental box and think of their journeys in history. Was I part of the Portugal during the Spanish inquisition of Jews I wondered? Was Turkey the place they migrated after they were expelled from Spain as it was the preferred destination if one had money?

Were my Iranian roots before or after the Babylonian exile of Jews in Israel? So many questions began to fill my head and heart. I therefore decided to take another test, at another company. It turns out that one company is based in Israel (no names please). It is a large company and I was so disappointed to learn I could not get my results because I live in Israel. For Israelis the results are locked out. I was so surprised and I did call them. I explained I had paid and I took it (the spit test) overseas and I happen to live here. They accepted another email address and I was able to get my results but not on my Israel email. I really began to ponder this deep in thought and researched the whys on how something like that could be so. I searched the web and began to have deep understanding why Israel wants this information blocked.

I researched many articles online and spoke with the different companies. I saw very much information on the subject.

Now I having made Aliya about 30 years ago to Israel and being married to a Kurdish Jew I have seen a lot here in Israel. I am not talking about everyday things but deep life styles and ways and truths about being an Israeli as I am. Allow me to share some of what I have learned in my 30 years living here. My husband’s family are several generation back in the land and speak no English. They came over the mountains of Kurdistan after 2000 years clanned together in the Nashdidan Tribe of Jews in Kurdistan, Turkey and Iraq.

In Israel it is important that your mother alone be Jewish in order to be considered Jewish. Many here have had to undergo conversion if only their father is Jewish. The state of Israel will allow you to return to Israel under “the law of return” for Jews if your father however is Jewish. However when married in Israel and for your children to be “Jewish” that means with no exceptions that your mother must be Jewish. That’s the way it works here. You may ask where in the world do we have such laws and thinking as it is not biblical really.

Fast forward to DNA testing being done everywhere in the world. People want to know their long lost past of the ancestors. As for my DNA results I am Kurdish too just as my husband is. I was very surprised about that fact. My ancestors were the first in America from Ireland and England (via Portugal it now seems). Just imagine how many surprises the Israelis themselves began to have, so many too having tested with the DNA now available.

Yeshua Messiah (Jesus) does not look at our DNA but he is looking if we are following the DNA of his life and ways. Many peasants lived and pagan ways were the norm in His time and Abraham’s time, however the God of Israel was a better way. The DNA now explains to experts many people converted to Judaism and many who claim to be Jewish, well it is NOT in their DNA. Many find that hard to swallow in Israel!

DNA however for Jews is very controversial. Scholars argue they are mostly going by a people group fact in which Jews lived in a certain area. Many say Jewish is only a followed religion. The proof is in the pudding as we say. The DNA staff explains many had converted and so they have not this DNA cluster group area similarity if you will. Also an interesting fact is that after six generations it can be very hard to have DNA which shows in a given child anymore from an ancestor.

Of those down through the millenniums who had converted to Judaism the markers (professional DNA word) of Jewish roots were NOT in them. Those converts had however opted to not steal, to honor their parents and not kill etc. Thus following the Jewish way and being “Jewish”.

As being Jewish is so important in Israel one can imagine how shocked many were to see their Jewishness is in fact in question through DNA tests.

If perhaps 25-45 % of the population carries Middle Eastern Genes and no Eastern Europe Genes what would that mean for say a Rabbi high in status? It would mean he may be finished to say the least. That would be if it were measured by modern thinking today as to requirements. What if it turned out his mother was Egyptian or Turkish but not Jewish? Again, he would be finished. It may be better to just lock the computer, lock the truth for some.

We have made our own law in Israel and many are rabbinic laws and not biblical in the state. For years many have complained it is a duo system. How can I be Jewish and become a citizen yet only be considered Jewish through my mother? It drives us all crazy. The law must be looked at again and again, especially in light of DNA results in Israel for her people, my people, and God’s people.

Jesus will not say to his people come good and faithful DNA results, be with me in eternity. He will say come to all those who loves and served him and believed him. Perhaps Israel will soften their hearts to him if they know our Messiah does not look at their pure Jewishness or not but at their hearts. He still receives us if we are Ashkenazi Sephardic or gentile. Perhaps they will be comforted to know He accepts them thru faith in him, not DNA.

The Messiah of Israel loves all DNA but they must acknowledge him.

Only His DNA will bring us into the kingdom, not our Jewishness or lack of. However we have chosen for now to shut out the DNA results for Israel. I understand all hell will break loose when true findings are told and probably already has. That’s why there is a clamp on the results in Israel, the truth is too hard to swallow. DNA reveals the truth of our family line, for good or bad. We in Israel do not want to hear it, and why? If we were all pure Jews as we thought we would not have this problem, but we are not can only be the conclusion. We are mixed. We are finding we are mixed with undesirables often and much gentile blood as well. Fact be it as well DNA shows we may have a brother from another mother, pardon the expression. Some very undesirable things DNA has revealed to a state which spins its own reality conveniently on the subject.

I have always tried to wrap my understanding around the fact that the mother has to be Jewish in Israel to be a real Jew rabbis teach us. I can see that Hagar was not Jewish and that is why the mother’s side has to be Jewish but I have heard many self-appointed ideas from many. We may soon have to change that rabbinic law in Israel and here is why as I explain below.

If one of your parents was not 50% Jewish your Jewish DNA may not show up. Many argue there is no Jewish DNA as stated earlier another might say rightly so when you study and break it all down. It is to date decided by clusters of a people at a time in history who lived in a certain area or areas.

Jews are defined from Ethiopia, Eastern Europe, Yemen etc. Iran however is “not a friendly co-operating nation on the subject so we cannot yet know who lines up with any matching ancestors from there as of now”.

One thousand years ago is 25 generations back. That Jewish DNA may never show up in yours. Again 50 percent of one of your parents must be Jewish to have that cluster connection. By the time your grandparents are looked at for your DNA it diminished and each generation after it diminishes more. Your Jewish cluster compatibility connection for that area of Jews may show in your sibling but not you. DNA is random. A great fourth generation grandmother who was declared Jewish may show up in your test results too or it may not. It is no wonder we are called the lost tribes of Israel!

We in Israel should acknowledge the truth in findings and come together in truth. Ashkenazi many contend (scholars) was originally a Turkish place, not German for example. We hold Ashkenazi above Sephardi often, treating Sephardic Jews as second class. The truth however according to these men is that Ashkenazi was a Turkish or Sephardi beginning for Jews. The Sephardi are called the black Jews, Yehudi shachor. It is very likely many “Eastern European Jews who pride themselves on that are really Sephardic Jews. Many Israelis and Jews do not like that notion.

In conclusion I have given food for thought. Jesus will determine us by who He is and our relationship to him.

God can use this wakeup call of DNA of Israel’s true roots on her people.

That is a humbling for our people to acknowledge the truth that fleshly skin and bones do not and should not dictate our love for God. It should not define us as a people. After all the first Jew was from Mesopotamia, when there were no Jews there. Abrahams DNA was Mesopotamian, near Babylon. Two of the 12 tribes were of an Egyptian mother’s DNA and well King David’s mother Ruth came from a heathen Moabite land. It’s all in the DNA folks.

The Holy Spirit must come upon the Jewish people and they must cry Abba and confess their Messiah in Christ. They will willingly come to Him when they understand only He was the perfect Jew and all the law is fulfilled in Him. They will weep to know He loves the Sephardi and the Europeans as well as all others who’ll acknowledge Him. That would include our great grandmother the Moabite and maybe some of the mothers and grandmothers of Israelis today who were and are today still far from Jewish in their DNA. There are reasons for DNA not showing even if they are present in a family line however. This is important to note and understand.

Why would the results be in lock down and computers for the Israeli public on DNA results? It’s because the results are in and they are so different from how we understood who we are! We are not who we thought in short according to our DNA. We will therefore have to convert perhaps as much as 25 -69 % of our people if the results are shown (as did a recent senator show hers lately in the USA.)

We are not going to let that happen in Israel. We’d rather die than see those DNA truths it seems let alone share them with other Israelis!

Yes, an easier solution is to hide the truth, hide the results, and it’s cheaper and well good for politics as well. Upon searching one can find many uninviting facts which tell a great story, but it is a DNA factual story, not a grandmother’s tall tale.

I am the truth, I am the way and I am the life says the Lord. No man comes to the Father except by me. There is no perfect Jewish DNA except the Lord’s and He is willing to share all of it with us, His children who believe.

His blood stain and DNA is on this land and will pour forth again when we see the pierced hands upon His retuning to us. We will mourn then as for an only Bechor, son. There is a sorrow which leads to repentance, I believe this will be that kind of sorrow for my Israeli people. We will acknowledge his perfectness for our atonement.

His DNA is enough for the family tree of all mankind, He says come. Eat of my flesh, drink of my blood and receive my life.

Who is my mother and who is my brother (and my DNA), but the one who does the will of the Father who sent me. The good news is there still is a remnant! Shalom

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Miriam Abramov is Israeli and resides in Israel. She has published and written 2 books, "Shalom At Last" (co-authored with her husband Shlomy) and also her biography titled "Married to Israel". She holds a Bachelor’s degree in Theology from Israel College of the Bible and pursued an M.A. degree in Jewish Missions. She sponsors tours in Hebrew for Israelis to teach about the Bible. She co-leads a fellowship with her husband and teaches on Israel’s feasts internationally. She is recognized with International Journalism status and enjoys writing free-lance about Israel from an informed citizen’s perspective on a variety of subjects connected to the Holy Land.