Expert: New Ancient Hebrew Manuscripts Could Have Major Impact on Taliban

January 8, 2013 3:33 pm 15 comments

Former Afghan Taliban. Photo: wiki commons.

The recent unveiling of 1,000-year-old manuscripts, found in caves in Afghanistan but written in Hebrew and penned by the Jewish community inhabiting the area a millennium ago, is unprecedented in its importance, says Jere Van Dyk, a journalist and author. He should know: He spent decades reporting in Afghanistan and Pakistan, is an expert on the region and the people that inhabit it, and even spent 45 days in captivity as a prisoner of the Taliban.

In speaking with The Algemeiner, Van Dyk expressed cautious optimism that the documents could provide greater insight into the relationship—and possible relations—between Jews and other ethnic groups in the region.

“If you talk to three quarters of the [Pashtuns] in Afghanistan and Pakistan they will say they are descended from –in some way, they can’t clarify it—the lost tribes of Israel, or are in some way Jewish. They don’t understand things, but this is there. As an extension of this are The Taliban, who are Pashtuns, and who are a deeply politicized people with no understanding -and Karzai, a Pashtun, will tell you this – with no understanding of their 5,000 year old Pashtun traditions or culture.”

Just this past Friday Van Dyk spoke to a Pashtun who told him that they “like Jews in ancient times, still sacrifice sheep and goats, for good fortune.” He mentioned that “we put blood over a door for good fortune, as Jews do during Passover.”

These papers, according to Van Dyk, are a giant leap toward confirming these suspicions.

Van Dyk says that if it could ever be proven that the papers date back to before the founding of the Muslim religion, or if it became evident that there was a Jewish community there at that time, then it could change the region.

“The Taliban, who are deracinated – cut off from their culture – are deeply politicized and have been for decades by Pakistan, which has its own agenda in Afghanistan. They are deeply religious – ‘We are Muslim; We want to rid our land of the infidels; We want a pure Islamic government,’ not unlike the one Mohamed is said to have created in Medina – now if it becomes clear, if there’s an increasing amount of information, and the Taliban begin to hear that, wait a minute, ‘We are descended from those who are at war with the Arabs, and our allies here Al-Qaeda’ – then it could possibly change how they look at everything.”

Van Dyk, though excited by the discovery, is practical when it comes to the possible impact of the documents. “Will it ultimately make a difference? I don’t know. But go back to the 1980s when they supplied money to the Palestinian cause. How could they in good conscience do that now if they realize that their helping people who are in effect at war with their cousins?”

15 Comments

  • And even if we related to ancient israeli that mean u guys come from us not us coz we pashtun are 50 millions while u guys are 7 million

  • yes pashtun are the only people in the world who are more like to israeli … and this is mention that in future there were be followers of islam who are from beni israeli and there only pashtun in muslims they are from bani israel…

  • the evidents-FROM a book of testymonys from Afghan jews, describing their meetings with some Tribes, -
    1. From Michael bar Yosef, a Buchara elder-
    ”in the year 1948, after the state of Israel was established, …i was in Kabul,…many of our Bucharan community decided to go up to the holy land, …but the state, a religious Islamic, didn’t let so easily our wish…especially in the days of the war that it means adding more jewish people to their strugle.
    in that time, i was in a muslim coffee house in Kabul, and in the news paper of the place- appeared a news item about the situation here on the land, on the yehudi-arab frontier.
    we read about an arab defeat, and of the conquest of the citys of Lod and Ramla [2 ancient jewish citys from the arabs [*in All Israel's wars, the arabs always began the shooting and the war.in order to defense their citizen's-israel replied] .
    in the coffee shop, also were sitting 3 Afghan high-degree officers;
    one of the contacted a conversation with me, and turned to me, saying – ‘I always thought the jews are cowards and the arabs- are brave as we,..and now- I was surprised to hear the oposit, how your jews are wining’.
    at first i hasitated ,thinking-is it worthy to reply to them, but suddenly i turned couragous and told them – ‘your thought about the arabs that they are heros is uncorrect, they have never been heros as you are, ..they are cowards, only the Muslim religion is common to you. But in the origin YOU ARE NOT ARABS, BECAUSE YOU ARE from Israel race, and the religion you recieved only in later period.’
    hearing my reply,2 of the 3 officials got very mad at me, but the 3rd officer shut them to be relaxed and said -
    ‘Why are you so upset ? that Yahudi is speaking truth…
    I MYSELF HAVE HEARD FROM MY DAD, THAT WE Afghans from descendants of the Israely Tribes we are.’
    AND then, said to him the officer that sat near him –
    ”if we are true from Israel origin, so the jewish are our relatives and Brothers, and we ow to have helped them against the arabs;
    later-these officers helped me arrange my papers to go up to Israel.
    2. At the establishment of the state [of Israel], Shalom Simantov has heard that some of the Tribes men wanted to go UP to Yerushalem, in order to help their jewish brothers, and they can not be silent. but they were not allowed by the authoritys

    • Lucifer Yahweh Orloff

      You’re assuming the Jews are descended from the tribes of Israel. DNA testing has verified what many already suspected: Most Jews are genetically Caucasian, that is to say, not Semitic.

  • there are evidences, and from my experience, i see there is a matter of propoganda, but the roots are unit and everlasting love among them to us. humility, recognition, faith… but last generation recieved multy islamic hatered and teachings, to show israel as very … and erase any connection. the islam word takes pride and great fear and terror on these tribes. so, among Taliban too, you can find more then one race, and the Musa ones, are afraid and keep Islam,too. i have 2 storys, evidences of past years to show, from decades ago, and the reality is need to show them the truth, help them convert, fight the violent ppl that threatens them, open door to work and love. this is life breath to us. many dear brothers there.

  • Actually, it proves that 99% of today’s Muslims [+ Christans] were forcibly converted with no choice given them. It also says clearly none of the converts were able to demand proof of the claims in the religion they were forced into. Both religions have belief – both contradict each other. The earth is exposing these disdained truths which was thus far hidden under cheirshed lies. Its pointing to chaos & disaster for humanity.

  • Islam’s roots in Afghanistan are not deep. Many of the remote tribes were converted to Islam only in the 19th century, though of course their descendants have erased this inconvenient fact from the collective memory.

  • Some of the Pashtun traditions about a relationship to ancient Israelites are detailed at http://www.dangoor.com/74069.html. It is not clear how much is accurate, but it is very specific:
    “The former monarchy in Afghanistan has a widely-spread tradition according to which their origin was from the tribe of Benjamin and the family of King Saul. According to this tradition, Saul had a son called Jeremia and he in turn had a son called Afghana. Jeremia died at about the same time as Saul and the son Afghana was raised by King David and remained in the royal palace during the reign of Solomon too. About 400 years later, in the days of Nebuchadnezer, the Afghana family fled to the Gur region (Jat in our times). This is in central Afghanistan and here the family settled down and traded with the people of the area. In the year 622, with the appearance of Islam, Muhammed sent Khaled ibn Waleed to the ‘sons of Ishrail’ to spread the word of Islam among the Afghanistan tribes. He succeeded in his mission, returned to Muhammed with seven representatives of the residents of Afghanistan and with 76 supporters. The leader of these people was ‘Kish’ (the name of the father of Solomon). According to the tradition, the emissaries succeeded in their assignment and Muhammed praised them for this.”

  • This will prove to the Taliban that all Jews should be forcibly converted to Islam, just as their own ancestors were. It will not make the Taliban more humane.

  • E Pluribus Beagle

    Islam is anti-rational. At it’s core it’s mystical, ideological, dogmatic. The reality of the history of Jews will make not the least difference.

  • Chaya Goldstein

    Do you really think that this is going to make a difference to the Taliban’s stance on Israel!? I don’t think the Taliban is going to say, “Wait a minute. We are descended from those who are at war with the Arabs, and our allies here Al-Qaeda.” I think that is very naive.

  • The former president of Israel, Itzhak Ben Zvi (1884-1963) dedicated a whole chapter of his well-researched book “Nidhe Yisrael” (The Exiled and the Redeemed) to Afghanistan, The Tribes of Afghanistan and their Tradition . They are no more lost than the Khuzarim! He mentioned a Prof. Huzs, who published many articles in Hebrew and French, and who also discussed about this with an Afghan Sheikh in the University of Cairo. Since Jewish blood is not recessive, the genes are still there among the mixed multitudes, hence the “eternal blood bond”. But it’s an irony that there is more Jewish blood in Islam, than in Judaism or Christianity.

    • The hatred of Jews written into the Qu’ran comes from the Prophet Muhammad’s own hatred of the Jews because they did not want to follow him and his belief that Allah is the true G-d. In fact, without the hatred of Jews there wouldn’t be much of a Qu’ran.

      • Thats not true in quran never said it hate jews and if it was in quran i would hated jews but i dont islam is about respect and love and the extermist muslims does not represent islam and its wrong 2 blame islam on what they doing and im not sure about us pashtun being lost tribe coz i ve heard real heberws are black and us pashtun 2 many have red hair and blue eyes me myself blonde and ma whole family is blonde and again we do have jewish name like israel and shimon and shamuel and many more and we also doing circmuntnce whatever u spell on the eigth day and

Leave a Reply

Please note: comments may be published in the Algemeiner print edition.


Current day month ye@r *

More...

  • Jewish Identity Sports Cycling the Desert: New Israel Bike Trail Connects Mitzpe Ramon to Eilat

    Cycling the Desert: New Israel Bike Trail Connects Mitzpe Ramon to Eilat

    As the popularity of cycling continues to increase across the world, Israel is working to develop cycling trails that make the country’s spectacular desert accessible to cyclists. The southern segment of the Israel Bike Trail was inaugurated on Feb. 24 and offers for the first time a unique, uninterrupted 8-day cycling experience after six years of planning and development. The southern section of the Israel Bike Trail stretches over 300 kilometers in length and is divided into eight segments for mountain biking, [...]

    Read more →
  • Jewish Identity Theater Forthcoming Major Action Movies Inspired by Jewish Comic Artist Jack Kirby

    Forthcoming Major Action Movies Inspired by Jewish Comic Artist Jack Kirby

    JNS.org – With the recent Oscars in the rearview mirror, Hollywood’s attention now shifts to the rest of this year’s big-screen lineup. Two of the major action films coming up in 2015—Avengers: Age of Ultron, which hits theaters in May, and the third film in the Fantastic Four series, slated for an August release—have Jewish roots that the average moviegoer might be unaware of. As it turns out, it took a tough Jewish kid from New York City’s Lower East [...]

    Read more →
  • Book Reviews Jewish Identity When Torah Teaches Life and Life Teaches Torah (REVIEW)

    When Torah Teaches Life and Life Teaches Torah (REVIEW)

    JNS.org – Rabbi Gordon Tucker spent the first 20 years of his career teaching at the Conservative movement’s Jewish Theological Seminary (JTS) and the next 20 years as the rabbi of Temple Israel Center in White Plains, N.Y. I confess that when I heard about the order of those events, I thought that Tucker’s move from academia to the pulpit was strange. Firstly, I could not imagine anyone filling the place of my friend, Arnold Turetsky, who was such a talented [...]

    Read more →
  • Arts and Culture Blogs Oscars 2015: Reflecting on Love at First Sight

    Oscars 2015: Reflecting on Love at First Sight

    JNS.org – I’m in love, and have been for a long time. It’s a relationship filled with laughter, tears, intrigue, and surprise. It was love at first sight, back when I was a little girl—with an extra-terrestrial that longed to go home. From then on, that love has never wavered, and isn’t reserved for one, but for oh so many—Ferris Bueller, Annie Hall, Tootsie, Harry and Sally, Marty McFly, Atticus Finch, Danny Zuko, Yentl, that little dog Toto, Mrs. Doubtfire, [...]

    Read more →
  • Blogs Book Reviews Examining America’s First Foray into the Middle East (REVIEW)

    Examining America’s First Foray into the Middle East (REVIEW)

    At the turn of the 21st century through today, American involvement in Middle Eastern politics runs through the Central Intelligence Agency. In America’s Great Game: The CIA’s Secret Arabists and the Shaping of the Modern Middle East, historian Hugh Wilford shows this has always been the case. Wilford methodically traces the lives and work of the agency’s three most prominent officers in the Middle East: Kermit “Kim” Roosevelt was the grandson of president Theodore Roosevelt, and the first head of [...]

    Read more →
  • Relationships US & Canada Seniors at Los Angeles Jewish Home Give Witty Dating Advice Ahead of Valentine’s Day (VIDEO)

    Seniors at Los Angeles Jewish Home Give Witty Dating Advice Ahead of Valentine’s Day (VIDEO)

    Residents of the Los Angeles Jewish Home give dating advice to a young Jewish man in a comedic video posted Monday on YouTube just in time for Valentine’s Day. Jonathan, an associate at the Jewish home, quizzes the senior citizens on an array of topics including having sex on the first date, kissing a girl, who should pay for dinner and whether online dating is a good idea. When the 28-year-old asks a male resident named Lee about his experiences [...]

    Read more →
  • Arts and Culture Jewish History Kutsher’s Documentary an Amazing, and Tragic, Look at the Past (REVIEW)

    Kutsher’s Documentary an Amazing, and Tragic, Look at the Past (REVIEW)

    Anyone who spent time in the Jewish Catskills hotels – especially those like me, who returned for decades – must see the new documentary,”Welcome to Kutsher’s: The Last Catskills Resort.” Not only will the film transport you back to the glory days of your youth and thousands of memories, but it will also make you long for a world that is now lost forever. I returned to Kutsher’s one last time in the summer of 2009, but by then, the [...]

    Read more →
  • Education Jewish Identity Lifestyle Riding the Wave of Change in Part-Time Jewish Education

    Riding the Wave of Change in Part-Time Jewish Education

    JNS.org – Amid the numerous studies and analyses regarding Jewish American life, a simple fact remains: part-time Jewish education is the most popular vehicle for Jewish education in North America. Whenever and wherever parents choose Jewish education for their children, we have a communal responsibility to devote the necessary time and resources to deliver dynamic, effective learning experiences. The only way we can do this is by creating space for conversations and knowledge-sharing around innovative new education models. That also [...]

    Read more →



Sign up now to receive our regular news briefs.