The Exiles of Israel and of Judah
The following short little article contains information of interest and observations concerning the population movements and demographic changes of the Jewish People. We show where different Jewish communities came from and that it is unlikely that a significant proportion of them descend from Khazars as has been claimed by others.
In Biblical Times, the Twelve Tribes of Israel had split into two sections. In the north was the Kingdom of Israel which encompassed Ten Tribes. The northern Kingdom of Israel was conquered by the Assyrians and its inhabitants taken into Exile along with many from the southern Kingdom of Judah. On the other hand, a small minority from the northern Kingdom did manage to flee to the south. They were assimilated by Judah and counted part of Judah even though they comprised about 20% of the population of Judah.
The Israelites who had been taken away by the Assyrians became known as the Lost Ten Tribes. They disappeared from history, lost knowledge of their ancestry, and their present whereabouts is not acknowledged by themselves or by others. Brit-Am, the Lost Ten Tribes Movement, however has traced them according to Scripture, with the help of Rabbinical and Secular sources, to Western Peoples.
Babylon and Rome
After the exile of the Ten Tribes only the Kingdom of Judah remained. The Kingdom of Judah was later conquered in ca 586 BCEby the Babylonians. Its inhabitants were exiled to Babylon but later a portion returned though Babylon remained an important demographic center. The Jews who had returned eventually were ruled over by the Romans. The Jews in Judaea (Judah) rebelled several times against the Romans as a result of which many were sold into slavery while others became citizens in different parts of the Roman Empire.
The Roman Empire split into two sections. In the east was Byzantium and in the West, Rome. Byzantium was centered on Constantinople (later known as Istanbul, opposite the European section of Turkey) and spoke Greek. Byzantium was neighbored to the east by Babylonia where many Jews had been settled since the time of Nebuchadnezzar.
The Khazars Appear
The Byzantines persecuted the Jews many of who fled to Khazaria in Southern Russia. Meanwhile the Arabs conquered Babylonia and mistreated the Jews as well as everybody else so from here too many moved into Khazaria. The King of the Khazars along with many of his nobles and Khazar subjects converted to Judaism. The Khazars were actually a small group but they ruled over many others. Most of the converts to Judaism came from the Khazars and Alans and not from the other peoples.
Both the Khazars and Alans were descended from the Ten Tribes of Israel.
We have proven this in a series of articles
as well as in a very important book dedicated to the subject.
It appears even within the Kingdom of Khazaria natural-born Jews had outnumbered the Khazar converts .
Prior to their conversion an offshoot of the Khazars had moved to Ireland and Scotland and merged with the Picts. Khazars were also to be found in Scandinavia.
Spain and Sephardic Jews
From Babylon some Jews had moved to Spain where they influenced the Jewish communities that were already there. Spain had been conquered by the Muslims and then reconquered by the Christians. A large number of Jews dwelt in the country. Spain in Hebrew is “Sepharad”. It is mentioned in the book of Obadiah:
THE CAPTIVITY OF JERUSALEM, WHICH IS IN SEPHARAD [Obadiah 1:20].
The Jews were expelled in 1492. Jews from Spain went all over the world but especially to Latin and Eastern countries where they often influenced the local customs so that these too came to consider themselves “Sephardic” in the cultural and ritualistic sense.
For more on the Jews and Israelites in Spain and Portugal See our articles:
SPAIN AND THE JEWS
Jews in the West included some of the Lost Ten Tribes
There had been Jews in the West from the beginning.
Jews were known to be found in Britain, Gaul (present-day France), and also in Germany.
The Jews were probably in Germany before the Romans. Germany in Rabbinical Hebrew is known as Ashkenaz. That is why all European Jews or Jews whose ancestors came from Europe are commonly referred to as Ashkenazim.
A Talmudic Commentator, Solomon Luria (Chochmat Shlomoh, Maharshal, 1510-1574) records the tradition that part of the Ten Tribes were sent into Exile to the “cities of Ashkenaz” meaning the Cities of Germany. There was a tradition that the Jews of Europe especially those of Germany came from the Lost Ten Tribes of Israel. This tradition however contradicts the plain import of Biblical Prophecies that places the Lost Ten Tribes amongst Western Nations especially those of the British Isles. Details are given in Brit-Am Biblical Proofs
and Secular Evidence.
It also contradicts major mainstream Talmudic and Rabbinical traditions (e.g. Nachmanides) that agree with Brit-Am findings.
Characteristics of the Tribes According to Rabbinical Sources
Even so it may be that a portion of the Ashkenazic Jews are descended from the Lost Ten Tribes of Israel.
Other traditions said that Ashkenazic Jews (especially those of Germany itself or in other versions of Rome or Rumania) came from the Tribe of Benjamin.
It will be remembered that the Population of Judah derived mainly from the Tribes of Judah, Benjamin, and Levi with only representative minorities of the other tribes.
Another source of western Jewry is from Roman captives and settlers who reached the west as a result of Roman expansion.
Old European JEWRIES by David Phillipson, 1894
## it has been asserted that there were synagogues in Germany, at Ulm and Worms, before the origin of Christianity.
The Spanish Jews had a tradition that there were Jews in Spain as early as the days of King Solomon…Titus, the conqueror of Jerusalem, we know, deported thousands of Jewish captives to the western Roman provinces. Many were sent to Sardinia to work in the mines, many remained in Rome, and we have frequent notices of them during the reigns of succeeding emperors. Into the Italian cities, they naturally drifted from Rome…
# Depping,” arguing from the expressions of Constantine regarding the Jews of Cologne [North Germany], concludes that they may have been dwelling in some of the cities of north-western Europe before the attention of the Roman emperors was directed to them.
In a law of the Theodosian code” (compiled between 425 and 435), addressed to the prefect of Gaul, a favorable mention of the Jews occurs, which would go to prove that they were then firmly settled, and were scattered throughout Gaul and Belgium.
# … According to another tradition, the Jews of southern Germany were descendants of the soldiers who had sacked Jerusalem. These soldiers, the Vangiones, so ran the story,had selected beautiful Jewish women as their portion of the spoil, carried them to their quarters on the Rhine and the Main, and there consorted with them. Their children were reared as Jews by their mothers, and were the founders of the Jewish communities between Worms and Mayence.” This, however, is all legendary. The earliest reliable notices of the settlement of Jews in German cities inform us that there were Jews in Cologne in the fourth century, in Magdeburg, Merseburg and Ratisbon’ in the tenth, and in Mayence, Speyer, Worms and Treves’ in the eleventh. As for Nuremberg, one chronicler states that Jews dwelt there in the year lOO, another makes it as early as 46,…
# As for the Jews in England, the first notices we have of their presence in that country before the Norman conquest are in the collections of canon laws made by Theodorus, Archbishop of Canterbury, and Egbert, Archbishop of York, for the regulation of the church. By these laws the Jews are subjected to much the same prohibitions as those formulated by the church councils. Theodorus was archbishop from 669 to 691, and Egbert, from 735 to 766. There is one more notice of the residence of Jews in England in early days. A document issued by King Witglaff, of Mercia, in 833, confirms the right of the monks of the cloister of Croyland to all the possessions given them by earlier kings of Mercia, nobles and other faithful Christians, and also to those received from Jews as gift, pledge or otherwise.”
Persecutions in the West and an Exodus Eastward.
Poland, Hungary, Russia
We therefore have the situation in which Jews were to be found throughout Western Europe. They were especially numerous in France and Germany.
There then occurred over the course of centuries an ongoing series of expulsions, and persecutions. Jews were murdered, tortured, exploited, and oppressed. Conditions were often horrendous. Consequently many Jews moved eastward into Poland. Jews also moved into what is now Hungary and other parts of southern Europe.
At that time (before the Holocaust) Ashkenazi Jews comprised more than 80% of the total world Jewish population. Most European Jews spoke Yiddish. Yiddish is basically a Southern Germanic dialect (related to Bavarian) mixed with Hebrew and with the addition of Old French and Latin words and expressions and later some Slavic words and verbal constructs.
At first there were not that many Jews in Russia since the authorities persecuted and expelled them. Some Jews were to be found in the Caucasus, Lithuania, and the Ukraine but their numbers were not large, relatively speaking.
In the 1790s Russia took over Poland but kept the Jews in a restricted area known as the Pale of Settlement that included Poland and the Crimea.
In the passage of time however Jews came to settle in all of Russia.
The Jews of Eastern Europe were poorer than those in the west, they were more religious (though towards the end this was changing), and had a higher birthright.
Were the Ashkenazi Jews descended from the Khazars?
Arabs, Nazi-lovers, and Jew-haters in general often claim that the Jews are all descended from the Khazars. The Khazars were a great and noble people and there would be nothing wrong in having them for ancestors. There is also nothing wrong in having ancestors who showed sufficient independence of mind and nobility of spirit to convert to Judaism.
Nevertheless, many of us have encountered variants of the well-known saying:
# How do you prove your brother is not a doctor if you have not got a brother? ##
Though we cannot be sure in absolute terms, MOST of the evidence (in fact nearly all of it) indicates that the majority of Ashkenazi Jews descend from Jews of Judah or at the least from Jews whose ancestors came from the west.
If they have any Gentile blood then it is just as likely to have come from the west as from anywhere else.
There were in fact historians who suggested that the Jews before moving westward had acquired slaves and converts from the Gauls and Germans. Even if so, it is difficult to say to what degree these influenced the ethnic structure.
Nearly all the Jews of Eastern Europe spoke Yiddish, a western language. They called themselves Ashkenazim meaning German. Their demographic history shows that they moved from the West to the East. In the region that the Khazars had once occupied few Jews were to be found until much later.
There exist no written records, no linguistic traces, no customs, almost nothing whatsoever that definitely may be traced to a Khazar source. Even if there was such evidence (and there is not) that would still not be sufficient to alter the overall impression that the Jews of Europe were Jewish and always had been.
There are those that claim that the Khazars moved into Hungary, Lithuania, and Poland and in those regions were simply transformed into Ashkenazim by Jews of a superior culture and social status who moved in on them from Germany. This could be but there is very little evidence to prove it. It sounds far-fetched and far-fetched ideas need to be well proven before we can consider accepting them.
The Jews of Eastern Europe did have a higher proportion of red heads amongst them and possessed their own distinct characteristics but one cannot deduce from such phenomena, on its own, anything of substance.
There is certainly nothing to justify the fanatical, ideaologically-motivated and forceful assertiveness of those who claim that the Jews of Europe had a Khazar origin.
For those who accept DNA findings then the evidence shows that Ashkenazic Jews are not much different from Sephardic Jews and that both are similar to other Middle East populations such as the Turks of Turkey, Armenians, Kurds, and Palestinian Arabs though these have additional Arab and African admixtures.
According to DNA however Ashkenazic Jews (depending on which statistics one relies upon) may have an admixture of ca. 20% R1a which is characteristic of Slavic populations (though also found in Norway, East Germany, Central Asia, and India) while Sephardic Jews have a somewhat lesser degree of R1b which is characteristic of West European peoples.
In 1939-1945 about one-third of the world Jewish Population (which then stood at ca.18 million) was exterminated. This accounted for more than 60% of the total European Jewish Population.
From the 1960s onwards, more than 7 million Jews were to be found in the USA though many of them no longer were aware of being Jewish.
The State of Israel had declared its independence in 1948. Jews came from all over the world. Western Nations helped bring Jews to Israel. The USA was instrumental in the migration of Jews from Ethiopia and from the USSR. About a million immigrants from the former USSR came to Israel though technically perhaps as much as a third may not have been halachically Jewish.
Demographics of Israel
#The State of Israel had population of approximately 7,465,500 inhabitants as of September 2009. 75.5% of them were Jewish (about 5,634,300 individuals), 20.3% were Arabs (About 1,513,200 inhabitants), while the remaining 4.2% (about 318,000 individuals) were defined as “others” (family members of Jewish immigrants who were not registered at the Interior Ministry as Jews, non-Arab Christians, non-arab Muslims and residents who do not have a religious classification).
In addition there were perhaps as many as 2 million Palestinian Arabs in Judah and Samaria and more than a million others in the Gaza region.