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Where are The Ten Lost Tribes of Israel?

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Where are The Ten Lost Tribes of Israel?

This project hopes to explore academic studies, and historical sources regarding the quest to find the Lost Ten Tribes of Israel. Please feel free to add any information you may have.

These are the 12 Israeli tribes (sons of Jacob):

Two additional tribes, of the sons of Joseph (born in Egypt) make the total to 14 :

The following are the 10 tribes that were captured and slaved by the Assyrians by 720 BC.marking the end of the Jewish kingdom and there is no trace for them'

The Lost Ten Tribes

  • Reuben
  • Issachar
  • Zebulun
  • Dan
  • Naphtali
  • Gad
  • Asher
  • Ephraim
  • Manasseh.
  • In addition, some members of Tribe of Levi, who had no land allocation


Nathan Ausubel’s list Nathan Ausubel wrote:There are quite a number of peoples today who cling to the ancient tradition that they are descended from the Jewish Lost Tribes: the tribesmen of Afghanistan, the Mohammedan Berbers of West Africa, and the six million Christian Igbo people of Nigeria. Unquestionably, they all practice certain ancient Hebraic customs and beliefs, which lends some credibility to their fantastic-sounding claims.

In his 1953 work Pictorial History of the Jewish People, Nathan Ausubel compiled the following list of peoples connected in one way or another to this legend:

  • Baghdad
  • Iran
  • Kurdistan
  • Yemen
  • Georgia
  • Bokhara
  • Hadhramaut
  • Mountain Jews
  • Afghanistan
  • Bene-Israel
  • Cochin Jews
  • China
  • Egypt
  • Algeria
  • Morocco
  • Libya
  • Tunisia
  • Djerba
  • The Sahara
  • Cave Dwellers = Atlas Mountains south of Tripolitania and Tunisia. Closely related to the Jews of the Sahara, they believe that their ancestors were brought as captives from Judea by Titus after 70 AD. They cut out tiny paper boats which decorate their synagogues where they pray: May a boat soon come and carry us to Jerusalem.
  • The Falashas = Lake Tana, Ethiopia. Claim to have come with the Queen of Sheba to visit King Solomon.
  • The Samaritans = Nablus (Shechem). Claim to be from the tribes of Ephraim, Menashe, and Levi, and built a rival Temple on Mount Gerizim in the days of Ezra.


Tribe of Dan. The Tribe of Dan had been carried off by the Assyrians (modern day Germans and Austrians). But when the Babylonians destroyed Assyria, the slave tribes scattered. Dan headed northwest.

Interestingly, many note that maps of Russia, Ukraine and eastern Europe have rivers with names that start with Don, Dan, Dun, etc. The tribe of Dan, it is speculated, followed these rivers and renamed them along the way, as well as this the name Denmark means: the mark of Dan.


The Babylonian Dispersion



Nova: The Lost Tribes Historical Quest


Many groups claim descent from specific Lost Tribes. Some of these groups include:

  • Bene Ephraim (from southern India) – claim descent from the Tribe of Ephraim
  • Bnei Menashe (from northeast India) – claim descent from the lost Tribe of Manasseh
  • Beta Israel, also known as Falashas – Ethiopian Jews some of whom claim descent from the lost Tribe of Dan
  • Persian Jews (especially the Bukharan Jews) claim descent from the Tribe of Ephraim
  • Igbo Jews of Nigeria claim descent variously from the tribes of Ephraim, Menasseh, Levi, Zebulun and Gad
  • The Nasranis of Malabar, India are of Hebrew or Israelite heritage but not much is known of their past, making it difficult to be certain that they are also descended from the ‘Lost Tribes’. (Ref. Dr. Asahel Grant’s ‘The Nestorians or the Lost Tribes of Israel’ for more about the Nazarenes and Nestorians).

Bene Israel of South Asia: The Bene Israel (Hebrew: “Sons of Israel”) are a group of Jews who live in various Indian cities, Mumbai, Pune, Ahmadabad, and in Pakistan such as in Karachi, Peshawer and Multan.

Prior to their waves of emigration to Israel and still to this day, the Bene Israel form the largest sector of the subcontinent’s Jewish population, and constitute the bulk of those sometimes referred to as Pakistani Jews. The native language of the Bene Israel is Judæo-Marathi, a form of Marathi. Most Bene Israel have now emigrated to Israel. Some researchers believe that the Bene Israel are descended from the Ten Tribes.

Bnei Menashe of India The Bnei Menashe (from northeast India) claim descent from the lost Tribe of Manasseh. Their oral traditions depict them as originally going from the Persian Empire into Afghanistan. (They may have been in the Persian Empire because it occupied the lands of Assyria when it conquered Babylonia.) According to their traditions, they then went to China, where they encountered persecution, then pressed on to India and Southern Asia.

Beta Israel of Ethiopia The Beta Israel (also known as Falashas) are Ethiopian Jews. Some members of the Beta Israel as well as several Jewish scholars believe that they are descended from the lost Tribe of Dan, as opposed to the traditional story of their descent from the Queen of Sheba.

Persian Jews Persian Jews (especially the Bukharan Jews) claim descent from the Tribe of Ephraim. Persian Jews (also called Iranian Jews) are members of Jewish communities living in Iran and throughout the former greatest extents of the Persian Empire.

Igbo Jews of Africa The Igbo Jews of Nigeria claim descent variously from the tribes of Ephraim, Naphtali, Menasseh, Levi, Zebulun and Gad.

Samaritans All Samaritans, in one form or another, see themselves as descendants of the original Hebrews. The Samaritan community in Israel and the Palestinian territories numbers about 600. These people, who still struggle to keep their ancient traditions, live in what was the capital of Samaria – Nablus and the town of Holon.

They claim to be authentic descendants of the Israelite tribes of Ephraim and Manasseh who were not exiled. On Passover the whole community sacrifices on Mount Gerizim.

Groups claiming descent from a non-specific Lost Tribe Some groups believe that they are descended from one of the Lost Tribes, but don’t know which one. These include:

  • The Lemba tribe (from Southern Africa) claims to be descended from a lost tribe which fled from modern Yemen and journeyed south.
  • The House of Israel in Ghana claims to be one of the Lost Tribes of Israel.
  • Pashtun people, ethnic Afghans traditionally claim descent from the Lost Tribes.
  • Chiang Min people (from northwestern China) claim to be descendants of Abraham.

British Israelism (sometimes called Anglo-Israelism) claims that the British are the direct lineal descendants of the Lost Tribes of Israel.

British Israelism believes that parallels between ancient Japanese culture and Biblical practice indicate a Lost Tribes origin for many aspects of Japanese religion and culture.

Lemba people of Africa

The Lemba people (Vhalemba) from Southern Africa claim to be descendants of a lost tribe which fled from what is now Yemen and journeyed south. DNA testing has genetically linked the Lemba with modern Jews.

They have specific religious practices similar to those in Judaism and a tradition of being a migrant people with clues pointing to an origin in West Asia or North Africa. According to the oral history of the Lemba, their ancestors were Jews who came from a place called Sena several hundred years ago and settled in East Africa. Some research suggests that “Sena” may refer to Wadi Masilah (near Sayhut) in Yemen, often called Sena, or alternatively to the city of Sanaa, also located in Yemen.

Pashtuns of the Afghan region: Is One of the Lost Tribes the Taliban? The Pashtuns are a predominantly Muslim people, native to Afghanistan and Pakistan, who adhere to their pre-Islamic indigenous religious code of honour and culture Pashtunwali. They traditionally claim descent from the Lost Tribes. The Yousafzai (Yusafzai) are a large group of Pashtun tribes. Their name means “Sons of Joseph”.

There are also similar names in other areas of the region, such as the disputed land of Kashmir. There are a variety of cultural and ethnic similarities between Jews and Pashtuns. A visit by a Western journalist in 2007 revealed that many currently active Pashtun traditions may have parallels with Jewish traditions. The code of Pashtunwali is strikingly similar in content and subject matter to the Mosaic law.

A book which corresponds to Pashtun historical records, Taaqati-Nasiri, states that in the 7th century a people called the Bani Israel settled in Ghor, southeast of Herat, Afghanistan, and then migrated south and east. These Bani Israel references are in line with the commonly held view by Pashtuns that when the twelve tribes of Israel were dispersed, the tribe of Joseph, among other Hebrew tribes, settled in the region. Hence the tribal name ‘Yusef Zai in Pashto translates to the ’sons of Joseph’.

This is also described extensively in great detail by Makhzan-i-Afghani, a historical work from the 17th Century by Nehamtullah, an official in the royal court of Mughal Emperor Jehangir. A similar story is told by Iranian historian Ferishta.

This account is also substantiated by the fact that the Bnei Menashe of India also have traditions which trace their wanderings as going originally from the Persian Empire to Afghanistan. In their case, they then went to China, where they encountered persecution, then pressed on to India and Southern Asia.

The Bani-Israelite theory about the origin of the Pashtun is based on Pashtun traditions; the tradition itself is documented in a source titled Makhzan-i-Afghani, the only written source addressing Pashtun origins. It was written in 1612, by Nematullah Harvi, a scribe at the court of Mughal Emperor Jehangir of Hindustan.

Nematullah compiled his book on the order of Khan Jehan Lodhi of the Lodhi dynasty, a Pashtun noble and a courtier of the Emperor Jehangir. Some sources state that the Makhzan-i-Afghani has been discredited by historical and linguistic inconsistencies. The oral tradition is believed to be a myth that grew out of a political and cultural struggle between Pashtuns and the Mughals, which explains the historical backdrop for the creation of the myth, the inconsistencies of the mythology, and the linguistic research that refutes any Semitic origins. There are also other sources which disagree strongly with the hypothesis that the Pashtuns have Israelite origins.

Chiang Min people of China The Chiang Min people of northwest China claim to be descendents of Abraham. Tradition holds that their forefather had 12 descendents.

The Jews of Kaifeng, China According to historical records, a Jewish community with a synagogue built in 1163 existed at Kaifeng from at least the Southern Song Dynasty until the late nineteenth century. A stone monument in the city suggests that they were there since at least 231 BC.

For the first time, a group of seven descendants of the Jewish community of Kaifeng, China has moved to Israel.The new arrivals, who were brought here by the Shavei Israel organization, arrived at Ben-Gurion airport late Tuesday night.

The city of their birth, Kaifeng, sits on the banks of the Yellow River and was home to a flourishing Jewish community for more than a millennium. “I am very excited to be here in the Holy Land,” said Yaakov Wang, one of the new immigrants. “This is something that my ancestors dreamed about for generations, and now thank G-d I have finally made it.”

Wang said that he eventually hopes to become a rabbi, so that one day he can help other Kaifeng Jewish descendants to learn more about their heritage. “We received special permits from the Interior Ministry to bring them here for a year on tourist visas, during which time they will prepare for conversion. Once they complete the conversion, they will then receive Israeli citizenship and be considered new olim,” Shavei Israel chairman Michael Freund told Israel National News. “The group will be staying at Kibbutz Sde Eliyahu, near Beit Shean, where they will study in the Hebrew ulpan.”

From the airport, the group went straight to the Western Wall in Jerusalem, where they recited the “Shehecheyanu” blessing, and then burst into a chorus of traditional Hebrew songs. “It took us more than two years to get the requisite permits from Israel’s Interior Ministry to bring them over, but it was worth the wait,” said Freund. “This is an historic event,” he said, adding that, “Kaifeng’s Jewish descendants are a living link between China and the Jewish people, and it is very moving to see the remnants of this community returning to their roots”.

At its peak, during the Middle Ages, Kaifeng Jewry numbered about 5,000 people. But widespread intermarriage and assimilation, as well as the death of the community’s last rabbi, brought about its demise by the middle of the 19th century. Scholars say there are still hundreds of people in Kaifeng who cling to their identity as descendants of the city’s Jewish community. In recent years, a growing number have begun to express an interest in studying Jewish history and culture.

Bedul, Petra At the beginning of the 20th century, the Bedouin tribe of “Bedul”, living in the caves of Petra, Jordan, captured the imagination of Zionist pioneers. Among them was the historian, explorer and second president of Israel, Yitzhak Ben-Zvi. Ben Zvi discovered traces of ancient Hebrew customs in the lifestyles of some Palestinian villagers and Bedouin tribes. He speculated that the inhabitants on both sides of the Jordan river may be descendants of the original Hebrew population which never left the area, despite the numerous exiles.

Although 100 years ago they presented themselves to British historians as the “Sons of Israel”, the Bedul of today deny the legend concerning their Hebrew origin and claim that they are descendants of the Nabateans who built Petra.

Scythian / Cimmerian Theories Several theories claim that the Scythians and / or Cimmerians were in whole or in part the Lost Tribes of Israel. The theories are generally based on the belief that the Northern Kingdom of Israel, which had been deported by the Assyrians, became known in history as the Scythians and / or Cimmerians. Various points of view exist as to which modern nations these people became.

The Behistun Inscription is often cited as a link between the deported Israelites, the Cimmerians and the Scythians (Saka). George Rawlinson wrote: We have reasonable grounds for regarding the Gimirri, or Cimmerians, who first appeared on the confines of Assyria and Media in the seventh century B.C., and the Sacae of the Behistun Rock, nearly two centuries later, as identical with the Beth-Khumree of Samaria, or the Ten Tribes of the House of Israel.

Adherents often believe that the Behistun Inscription connects the people known in Old Persian and Elamite as Saka, Sacae or Scythian with the people known in Babylonian as Gimirri or Cimmerian. It should be made clear from the start that the terms ‘Cimmerian’ and ‘Scythian’ were interchangeable: in Akkadian the name Iskuzai (Asguzai) occurs only exceptionally. Gimirrai (Gamir) was the normal designation for ‘Cimmerians’ as well as ‘Scythians’ in Akkadian.

The archeologist and British Israelite, E. Raymond Capt, claimed similarities between King Jehu’s pointed headdress and that of the captive Saka king seen to the far right on the Behistun Inscription. He also posited that the Assyrian word for the House of Israel, “Khumri”, which was named after Israel’s King Omri of the 8th century BCE, is phonetically similar to “Gimirri.” (Cimmerian)

Critics of the Israel / Scythian theory argue that the customs of the Scythians and Cimmerians contrast those of the Ancient Israelites and that the similarities and theories proposed by adherents stand in contradiction to the greater body of research on the history of ancient populations, which does not provide support for the purported links between these ancient populations

British Israelism variant

British Israelism (also known as ‘Anglo-Israelism’) is the theory that people of Western European descent, especially Britain and the United States, are descended from the ‘Lost Tribes’ of Israel. Adherents believe that the deported Israelites became Scythians / Cimmerians who are then alleged to have become the Celts / Anglo-Saxons of Western Europe. This theory also provides the meaning why we use the term Caucasian to the Anglo Saxon people of today. Caucasian means white skin tone, with this following meaning it explains how Anglo Saxons are called Caucasian within the British Israel Preaching in many churches today. Caucasian is the name given to the Israelites when they were put into captivity between the Caspian and the Black sea, this place was named the Caucasus Mountains, the Tribes when released did not move back into Palestine but headed Westward into the Isles. British Isles. Then after this they continued Eastward, then Northward, then Southward. We see history matching this as the colonies of the Commonwealth of England. This also is backed up by the Bible explaining the Lord will return again to take back the throne of David. The tribe of Judah. Judah was promised his son Pharez to be the family of royals. Judah then had the child Pharez who begat Ezrom, who begat Aram, who begat Aminadab, who begat Nashon, who begat Salmon, who begat Boaz m Ruth, who then Obed the father of Jesse the father of King David. There is no monarch in Israel but in the British Israel Message we see the throne of David being the Royal Throne in Britain.

The theory arose in England, from where it spread to the United States. During the 20th Century, British Israelism was aggressively promoted by Herbert W. Armstrong, founder of the Worldwide Church of God. Armstrong believed that this theory provided a ‘key’ to understanding biblical prophecy, and that he was specially called by God to proclaim these prophecies to the ‘lost tribes’ of Israel before the coming of the ‘end-times’.

"The British Israel Message" is a message explaining and revealing the true genealogies of the world showing dates and ages explaining the historicist view of the bible. Historicist view is the view of the world from biblical evidence that the world is around 6000 years old. From the year 0 of Adam and adding ages and dates told in the bible to find the years now. The British Israel Message was one of the most used messages explaining the history of the bible to be used in most of the denominations of the world churches. It was mostly dominant in pentecostal churches throughout the world.

The Worldwide Church of God no longer teaches the theory, but some offshoot churches such as the Philadelphia Church of God and the United Church of God continue to teach it even though British Israelism is inconsistent with the findings of modern genetic.

Brit-Am variant Brit-Am, sometimes confused with British Israelism, is an organization centered in Jerusalem, and composed of Jews and non-Jews. Brit-Am, like British Israel, identifies the Lost Ten Tribes with peoples of West European descent, but does so from a Jewish perspective quoting both Biblical and Rabbinical sources.

The evidence that Brit-Am relies upon is Biblical in the light of Rabbinical Commentary but is supplemented by secular theories which posit the Lost Tribes / Scythian / Cimmerian connection which they then believe to have become various Western European nations.

An example of Brit-Am scholarship may be seen from its treatment of Obadiah 1:20 where the original Hebrew as understood by Rabbinical Commentators such as Rashi and Abarbanel is referring to the Lost Ten Tribes in France and England.

Brit-Am also believes that “Other Israelite Tribes gave rise to elements within Finland, Switzerland, Sweden, Norway, Ireland, Wales, France, Holland, and Belgium” and that “The Tribe of Dan is to be found amongst part of the Danish, Irish, and Welsh.”

Brit-Am also believes that the Khazars were descended from the Ten Tribes and quotes Jewish and non-Jewish sources that were contemporaneous with them.

Other variants Other organizations teach other variants of the theory, such as that the Scythians / Cimmerians consisted in whole or in part the Lost Ten Tribes. One such theory posits that the lost Israelites can be defined by the Y-DNA haplogroup R, which consists of much of Europe and Russia, which is in contrast to British Israelism and Brit-Am which believe that the Israelites became only Western Europeans.

It should be noted that the genetic findings postulated by this and other theories are typically inconsistent with the findings of generally accepted research in archeology, anthropology and population genetics.

The Kurds Some have promoted the notion that the Kurds represent a Lost Tribe. Some claims have been made regarding a genetic relationship between the Kurds and the Jews on the basis of a similarity between Kurdish Y-DNA and a Y haplotype that is associated with the Jewish priesthood.

However, in genetic testing of the Y chromosome of 95 Muslim Kurds, only one sample (1.05% of the Kurds tested) matched the so-called Cohen Modal Haplotype (CMH), consisting of six specific Y-STR values. Various misleading statements have associated typical Kurdish Y-DNA with that of the Jews. However, these attempts are based on several sources of confusion:

  • (1) The Cohen Modal Haplotype in its original form includes only six Y-STR markers, which with the scientific advances since that time, are now understood to be far too few to adequately identify a unique, closely related group that shares common descent from one relatively recent paternal ancestor. The same six marker values can be found by random mutations in other populations that are only remotely related. They are thus identical by state, but not Identical by descent. The 6-marker CMH cannot be used as a clear indicator of Cohen genetic ancestry, without additional data. Thus its presence should not be used as grounds for probable Jewish ancestry in a population.
  • (2) It is touted as a fact of great significance that the most common (modal) 6-marker haplotype of the Kurds is only one step from the CMH, but in fact, these same six marker values that were found to be the “Kurdish modal haplotype” can be seen in the data, in numerous sources, to be the most common haplotype amongst a wide variety of J2 Y chromosomes, wherever they may be found, in ethnic groups of the Middle East or in Europe — thus, it is hardly an indication of a close relationship with the Cohanim priesthood, or with the Jews.
  • (3) The fact that the 2001 paper by Nebel found a somewhat greater similarity between the Y-DNA of the Kurds and the Jews than between the Jews and the Palestinians does not point to a uniquely close relationship between the Jews and the Kurds. This study did not compare Jews with other non-Kurdish Iraqis, or with the people of Turkey, Syria, Lebanon, or other nearby lands. The available data indicates that these peoples are all closely related, with the Jews and Kurds making up just two per cent of a diverse family of Middle Eastern peoples in this region.

The Japanese

  • Some writers have speculated that the Japanese people themselves may be direct descendants of part of the Ten Lost Tribes. There are some parallels between Japanese and Israelite rituals, culture, traditions, and language, which provide some evidence for this possibility.

An article that has been widely circulated and published, entitled “Mystery of the Ten Lost Tribes: Japan” by Arimasa Kubo (a Japanese writer living in Japan who studied the Hebrew Bible), concludes that many traditional customs and ceremonies in Japan are very similar to the ones of ancient Israel and that perhaps these rituals came from the religion and customs of the Jews and the Ten Lost Tribes of Israel who might have come to ancient Japan.

Joseph Eidelberg’s “The Biblical Hebrew Origin of the Japanese People” makes a similar case: Late in his life, Joseph Eidelberg began analyzing ancient traditions, religious ceremonies, historical names, haiku poems, Kana writings and Japanese folk songs, discovering thousands of words with similar pronunciations, sounds and translations between Hebrew and Japanese.

These discoveries are history in the making, giving credible new information on the meanings of many unknown Japanese words, numbers, songs and cultural traditions – and this book is the first time that these remarkable similarities are combined into a single consistent theory.

The Irish There is a theory that the Irish, or that Insular Celts as a whole, are descended from the Ten Lost Tribes. Proponents of this theory state that there is evidence that the prophet Jeremiah came to Ireland with Princess Tea Tephi, a member of the Israelite royal family.

Proponents of this theory point to various parallels between Irish and ancient Hebrew culture. For example, they note that the harp, the symbol of Ireland, also plays a role in Jewish history, as the musical instrument of King David. Some maintain that the Tribe of Dan conducted sea voyages to Ireland and colonized it as early as the period of the Judges under the name Tuatha Dé Danann.

Aspects of this theory are also sometimes cited by adherents of British Israelism, as one possible explanation of how the Ten Lost Tribes might have reached the British Isles. However, British Israelism takes many forms, and does not always use this hypothesis as its main narrative.

Native Americans Several explorers, especially during the 17th and 18th centuries, claimed to have collected evidence that some of the Native American tribes might be descended from the Ten Lost Tribes. Several recent books and articles have focused on these theories.

The belief that some Native Americans were a Lost tribe of Israel goes back centuries and includes individuals like the 1782 President of the Continental Congress Elias Boudinot and Mordecai Noah, the most influential Jew in the United States in the early 19th Century. Some sources such as Howshua Amariel and various researchers assert that there is DNA evidence, linguistic research and other research which indicates links between the Cherokee Nation and the Jewish people.

General dispersions, via Media region

  • This theory begins with the notion that the tribes of Ephraim and Manasseh are the sons of Joseph, who had been in captivity (Genesis 37 through 45) and bore them with the daughter of the Pharaoh’s Priest, Asenath (Genesis 41:45-52). The Tribe of Levi was set apart to serve in the Holy Temple (Numbers 1:47-54 2:33 3:6-7). The arrangement of the Tribes was given in Numbers 2.
  • It is now believed by many that the exiled tribes, who were, according to the Second Book of Kings, transported to the region of Media in what is now northwestern Iran, most likely assimilated into the population of the area, losing any special sense of Israelite identity. There is also Biblical and Talmudic testimony that much of the population of the “lost” tribes was simply reunited with the rest of the Israelites when they, too, were exiled and, later, returned to the Land of Israel. However, many over the years, in order to hide their Jewish or Israelite identities during tribulations, crusades and continual exiles, have scattered around the whole earth and are believed to have assimilated into the much larger non-Jewish population.
  • There is now genetic testing being done to representatives of at least two groups – the Lemba in Africa and the Bnei Menashe in India – in attempts to verify claims of descent from the “lost ten tribes”. So far, there is nothing conclusive, though in the case of the Lemba, there is a definite link to Levite Hebrew ancestry, specifically Kohen.

Benjamin of Tudela, Spain 1165 "There are men of Israel in the land of Persia who say that in the mountains dwell four of the tribes of Israel, namely, the tribe of Dan, the tribe of Zevulun, the tribe of Asher, and the tribe of Naphtali.

"They are governed by their own prince, Joseph the Levite. Among them are learned scholars. They sow and reap and go forth to war as far as the land of Cush, by way of the desert. They are in league with the Kofar-al-Turak, pagan tribesmen who worship the wind and live in the wilderness."

Bartholeme de Las Casas - early 16th century In the early 16th century, Bartholeme de Las Casas became the champion of the Native American Indians, devoting his lifetime to improving the conditions—in the West Indies, Peru and Guatemala. Las Casas wrote:

"These Indians can bring near the redemption. If we treat them humanely in this world and convert them to Christianity, we are preparing for the redemption of the Western world in the messianic era. Their conversion is apt indeed, as I am convinced the Indians originate in Ancient Israel. Indeed, I can bring proofs from the Bible that they are of the Lost Tribes."

Antonio Montezinos - 16th century The association of the Indians with the Lost Tribes was heard again and again. The report by Portuguese traveler Antonio Montezinos some 120 years later aroused remarkable interest.

"It was a thrilling journey I took in South America. Now that I am back in Amsterdam, I must share with you some incredible news. There is a Jewish Indian tribe living beyond the mountain passes of the Andes. Indeed, I myself heard them recite the She'ma (the expression of the Jewish faith) and saw them observe the Jewish rituals."

Menasseh ben Israel - 1655 Menasseh ben Israel, a Dutch Jewish scholar widely respected in both Christian and Jewish circles, played a central role in strengthening the association of the American Indians with the Lost Tribes. Deeply influenced by Montezinos' report and stimulated by his own mystical disposition, Ben Israel gradually fashioned his most important and best-selling book: The Hope of Israel.

In 1655 Menasseh ben Israel met with Oliver Cromwell, Lord Protector of England, at Westminster. He dedicated The Hope of Israel to Parliament and submitted his petition for the recall of the Jews who had been expelled from England.

Ben Israel's approach was shrewd indeed. He reiterated the belief that the dispersion of Jews to all corners of the Earth was the beginning of the redemption.

The first stage had been realized—Israelite tribes had been discovered in the Americas! By completing the dispersion of the Jews, Cromwell himself could hasten the messianic era. He must readmit the Jews to England.

Ben Israel associated the Hebrew word for "the end of the Earth" with the medieval term "Angle-Terre" or England. He wrote, "...All which things of necessity must be fulfilled, that so Israel at last being brought back, to his own place, peace which is promised under the Messiah may be restored to the world; and concord, which is the only Mother of all good things."

These words echoed the hopes for a better world, awakened in the second half of the 18th Century during the American and French revolutions.

Many abolitionists, for example, claimed that the Messianic Age would be ushered in when the slaves were freed and when the native Americans, descendants of the Ten Lost Tribes, were converted to Christianity. It would have given Menasseh Ben Israel considerable satisfaction to know how deeply his ideas had influenced social theory and the human rights movement.

Tribal Groups - Afghanistan, Pakistan & Kashmir Straddling the boundaries between Afghanistan, Pakistan and Kashmir lives the world's largest tribal grouping—the Pathans. All of the 15 million Pathans, who comprise some 60 tribes, claim descent from Kish, an ancestor of the Biblical King Saul.

Many of them also claim to be them children of the Lost Israelites. The Pathans perform circumcision of the eighth day, wear a fringed garment similar to the Jewish tzizit, light candles on Friday nights and observe food taboos similar to the laws of Kashrut.

Kashmir is renowned as one of the most spectacularly beautiful places in the world. Kashmir consists of a wide and beautiful valley, surrounded by tall mountains and is one of the most beautiful places in the world.

There have been many controversies regarding its history. Till now many references about the origin of Kashmiri people have been given but controversies are still present. One such theory is about kashmiries being the Lost Tribe of one of the twelve tribes of Bani-Israel .

The history of the Kashmir is shrouded in mystery, as is the history of other people in Kashmir. Many researchers are of the opinion that many inhabitants of Kashmir are descendants of the Lost Tribes who were exiled in 722 BC. They wandered along the Silk Road into the countries of the East, Persia and Afghanistan until they reached the Kashmir valley and settled there.

Others say the wanderings began approximately 300 years later. The wanderers settled in Kashmir, kept their traditions until they slowly started idol worship and gradually got converted to Hinduism & ultimately they got converted to Islam when the word of Allah (Islam) reached the valley and thus once again started worshiping the one GOD “ALLAH”.

There are 5 to 7 million people here. Generally speaking, they have clearer complexions and are different from the other citizens of India.

The priest Monstrat said that in the time of Vasco da Gama in the 15th century, "all the inhabitants of this area who have been living here since ancient times can trace their ancestry, according to their race and customs, to the ancient Israelites.

South African Lemba Tribe In South Africa, Zimbabwe and Mozambique, tens of thousands of blacks have, in recent years, declared themselves descendants of one of the Lost Tribes. The Lemba claim to have been cut off from mainstream Judaism hundreds of years ago. They are well-versed in the Old Testament and avoid marriage outside their community.

From every imaginable corner of the world theories arise linking different peoples and tribes with the Ten Lost Tribes: the Crimea, the Caucasus, Kenya, Nigeria, Armenia, Persia, Central Asia, North Siberia, West Africa, Peru, South America, Australia, Ireland. While the evidence may at times seem flimsy, the Jewish elements in these tribal cultures continue to fascinate scholar and layman alike.


Daber: in Hebrew, to speak. Daberu: Japanese for chatting.

Goi: a non-Hebrew or foreigner. Gai'Jeen: prefix for a foreigner, a non-Japanese.

Kor: cold in Hebrew. Koru: to freeze in Japanese.

Knesset: Parliament in Hebrew. Kensei: Constitutional government in Japanese.

These are among the thousands of words and names of places with no real etymological meaning in Japanese. And they all correspond with Hebrew words.

Even the Kings have similar names. The first known king of Japan, who was named Osee, ruled around 730 BC. This king has been identified with the last king of Israel, Hoshea, who died around the same time, at the time of the Assyrian exile of the ten tribes from Israel.

The holy Japanese shinto temple strongly recalls the ancient holy Isrealite temple, which housed a holy of holies section and several gates. Several artifacts in Japan have been traced to Assyrian and Jewish sources, among them, a well in Koryugi with the words "well of Israel" inscribed on its side.

It has also been suggested that the carts of Otsu and Kyoto are of ancient biblical origin, as they are different from any others in Japan. Might the ancient Israelites and their wives and children have been conveyed to Japan in these carts? Among the Samurai sect, there is a tradition that their ancient ancestors came to Japan from western Asia around 660 BC.

The name 'Samurai' recalls 'Samaria'. And to which tribe do the Japanese belong? There are those who claim that the Mikado, the Japanese emperor, is a descendant of the Hebrew tribe of Gad. 'Mikado' recalls the Hebrew word for 'his majesty the king,' 'Malchuto'.

Beta Israel-Ethiopia

In the latter part of the twelfth century, a legend appeared which persisted for several centuries and reached Egypt, Palestine and Europe. According to this legend, a Christian priest named Prester John ruled as monarch over a vast and wealthy Christian Empire.

According to many traditions, Ethiopia was the land of the powerful Prester John's kingdom, as well as the home of the ten lost tribes. Persistent rumor had it that these African Israelite kingdoms were at constant war with Prester John, and that their armies were advancing on Rome.

Who are these African-Jewish tribesmen so central to the Prester John legend? These are the Ethiopian Jews known both as Falashas, the Amharic word for landless, wandering Jews, and as Beta Israel, the house of Israel. In Ethiopia, they engaged primarily in agriculture, but were known also for their exquisite crafts and jewelry.

Today, most of the Beta Israel live in the state of Israel. In the 1970's and 80's, the Israeli government airlifted thousands of Ethiopian Jews to Israel, rescuing them from political and economic distress.

According to one tradition, the Ethiopian Jews are the descendants of one of the ten tribes, as their religion is an ancient form of biblical Judaism. Their religious practices are prescribed by the Orit, the Torah translated into their Gez dialect. They possess none of the post-biblical laws. Over the centuries, the Beta Israel have been connected with the tribe of Dan. This association has eased the process of their return to the state of Israel in recent times.

Chiang-Min China

"Behold, These are coming from afar. These from the north and the west and these from the land of Sinim." This prophecy, spoken by Isaiah, promised the return of Lost Israelites from all corners of the Earth and from Sinim.

Interestingly, Sinim is the Hebrew word for China. In fort-like villages in the high mountain ranges on the Chinese-Tibetan border live the Chiang-Min of West Szechuan. It has been claimed that the Chiang-Min are descendants of the ancient Israelites who arrived in China several hundred years before Christ.

The missionary Torrance, who visited Cheng-du in the early party of this century, insisted that the Chiang-Min strongly resemble the Israelite branch of the Semitic race.

He observed that several of their customs were reminiscent of ancient Israelite tradition. Said Torrance: "The plough the Chiang use is similar to the ancient Israelite plough and is drawn by two oxen, never by an ox and an ass. This in accordance with the Biblical stipulation: 'You shall not plough with an ox and ass together.'"

The Chaing-Min believe in one God. During "times of calamity or acute distress," writes Torrance, "they issue a moan or cry which sounds like 'Yawei', suggestive of the biblical name of God. The Scottish missionary also claims that the Chinese conception of Sacrifice came from the ancient Israelites.

Finally, Chiang-Min priests, like the ancient Israelite priests, wear girdles to bind their robes, and bear a sacred rod shaped like a serpent, reminiscent of the brass serpent fashioned by Moses in the wilderness.

Yuchi/Yuchee Indians Yuchi/Yuchee Indians last seen in Kentucky. They were comprised of two colonies of Jews who left Palestine around 135 AD.

Scientists have found waste products in a cave in Kentuky (ancient name Ken-take: it was a designated battlefield. Some say that the soil there is so rich because of all the blood spilled over the years)


Tribal Ensigns

The Tribal Banners

  • Reuven's flag was red (odem-ruby) with a picture of a mandrake plant of the kind brought to his mother.
  • Shimon's flag was green (petedeh-topaz) with a picture of the city of Shechem that he helped destroy.
  • Levi's flag was tri-colored, red, white, and black (bareketh-a multi-colored crystal) with a picture of the Urim V'Tumim-the breastplate of the Kohain Gadol.
  • Yehuda's flag was sky-blue (nofekh-garnet or carbuncle) depicting a lion. As the verse states, "Yehudah is a young lion" Ber. 49:9)
  • Yissachar's flag was dark-blue (sapir-sapphire) with a picture of the sun and the moon. The descendents of Yissachar were experts in astronomy and determining the calendar.
  • Zevulan's flag was white (yahalom-diamond or pearl) depicting a ship.The tribe of Zevulan were merchants who ventured across the seas doing business. They were able to support their own tribe as well as provide for the tribe of Yissachar who spent their time studying and teaching Torah.
  • Dan's flag was opal colored (leshem-opal) depicting a snake. As Yaakov described Dan, "Let Dan be as a snake"
  • Gad's flag was part white and black although his stone was turquoise(shevo- agateor turquoise). It depicted the outline of an army camp since Yaakov blessed him to be victorious in battle.
  • Naftali's flag was off red in color (ahelemah-amethyst) depicting a deer.
  • Asher's flag was emerald colored ( Tarshish-beryl) depicting a tree.
  • Yoseph's flag was deep black (shoham-onyx) depicting the two princes, Menashe and Ephrayim and the capital city of Miyzrayim.
  • Ephrayim's flag had the picture of an ox because Yehoshua came from Ephrayim and Moshe referred to Yehoshua as an ox. "His glory is like a first-born ox." (Divarim 33:17)Yehoshua was the “first-born” referred to in the Pasuk.
  • Menashe's flag depicted the form of aurochs (re'em). This referred to Gideon (one of the Judges) who descended from Menashe. Moshe prophesied about Gideon when he said, "and his horns are the horns of an aurochs." (Divarim33:17)
  • Binyamin's flag was multicolored. (his stone was a yeshefeth-jasper). Depicted on the flag was a wolf. "Binyamin is a vicious wolf" (Ber. 49:27)