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The People of Israel – Pashtuns and Jews


In an article that was published in The Pashtun Times and in Israel Rising, I explained why I don’t just believe, but I know for sure that the Pashtuns and the Jews are actually two parts of the same nation – the People of Israel, and why I think it is completely irrational to think otherwise.Following this article, we were blessed with a nice flow of Facebook users to our (closed) facebook group. With that flow came many interesting discussions. I want to use this article for presenting you with highlights from the group and, if you are a Pashtun or a Jew, I invite you to join us.

Please note that I excluded names from the posts and comments, only chose highlights from the comments of the posts to not make this article too long, I have rephrased some sentences to make them simpler and sometimes made minor edits to make the point more clear, and the titles are not in the original posts. One last thing, words in [squere parenthesis] are some commentary I added just now that don’t appear in the original posts/comments. I hope you enjoy.

  Common traditions  

Common traditions of Pashtuns and Jews:

    • Lighting candles before Saturday.
    • Not eating sea-creatures such as lobsters, shrimps, and crabs, and animals like camels and horses, and meat with cheese.
    • Circumcision on the 8th day.
    • Wearing a small hat. In Hebrew it is called Kipa.
    • Wearing a square piece of clothing by men. In Hebrew it is called Talith.
    • A brother marries a dead brother’s widow. In the Tora it is called Yibum.
    • In Weddings there’s a piece of fabric hanging above the marrying couple. In Hebrew it is called Hupa.
    • In weddings, the bride breaks a glass. In Jewish weddings the groom breaks it.
    • Using names like Yaakov (Christians use Jacob but only Jews and Pashtuns use it as it should be pronounced), Israel, Barak, Asaf, Binyamin, Kenan, Tamir, Timor, Shir, Sahar (know of more?).

Afghan refugees who fled their country due to war and famine, sit at a roadside during the winter in Islamabad, Pakistan on Tuesday, Jan 31, 2012. (AP Photo/B.K.Bangash)

Do you know of more similar traditions?

   Hupa. In Pukhto (Pashto) we call it Dolaye.

   The square piece of clothing is called Sadarr.

   It’s true brother cousin marries to the widow of a brother.

   Hahaha I failed to break it with my foot on the first attempt in my wedding… it was embarrassing.

   Was it glass?

   It was a China clay plate.

   LOL. I did it with all my power. So it is not only brides, but in Pashtuns’ weddings it is also done by the groom. But man you are not advanced enough. We do it with a simple glass. The Hupa is not the place for hard challenges…

   Yes… Well actually it was a grassy surface. Thanks God my wife doesn’t remember that… lol.

  I know at least two Pashtuns who are called Kenan… And Barak is the name of Khattak sub tribe.

[Since this posts we discovered more common traditions like no laundry on Shabath/Shambah, moving the body during prayer, putting salt in meat to extract the blood, no pieing towards Jerusalem, sacrifice in Pashto is Qurban, in Hebrew it’s Qorban, more common names like Oriya and Izhar, and more…]


 The tradition 

Thank you so much for adding me to the group. I am very glad that finally I’ve found a place where Jews and Pashtuns can talk to each other… I must say it’s the first time. We have been told since our childhood that we Pashtuns are the descendants of Bani Israel. We need to know more about Jews and about Israel. Thanks again for adding me, much appreciated.

Welcome. Please write a lot of interesting posts for us and teach us about the Pashtuns’ culture.

  Pashtuns in the holy land  

My Grandfather once told me an interesting story. He was in the British army with other Pukhtuns and fought many battles including WWI. When they were sent to Israel they also visited Bait Ul Muqaddas. They were wearing their traditional Pukhtoon attire… When Jews saw them they came hurriedly towards them and shouted “Akhi”, which means “my brother” in Hebrew. But they said “We are Pukhtuns and not Jews, how can we be your brothers?” but the Jews insisted that “You are our brothers” and embraced them and treated them very hospitably.

[If I had to guess, I would guess they were Afghan Jews or heard about Pashtuns from them. The Afghan Jews loved their hosts in Afghanistan and many stayed there and only ran away because of USSR invasion.]
  A relationship with Israel  

Can we have better relationship with Israel?


That’s what I advocate everywhere with my friends that we should have friendly relations with Israel.

  Pashtuns with Iraqi Jews  

Our grandfather Abdul Ghafoor, a Pathan, with his 2 Jewish friends in Iraq – Amir Israel and Alexander Yohanan (1925):

I would have never guessed which one is Pashtun and which is Jewish.

  Pathans in Israel  


I personally don’t think that Pashtuns are all from the Benjamin tribe. Except for that, this article is very interesting :). Pathans’ visit to Israel:

 Pashtuns are even keeping stuff from the oral Tora 

My mother always forbids me to eat meat and dairy products together. She is illiterate and also can’t understand Quran and Torah. Once I asked her why does she forbid it, and she answered that she heard that from my grandmother. I wonder from where could this tradition come, because I heard that it’s also a Jewish/Israelite tradition.

Not eating meat and milk together is pure Judaism. It comes from the Tora, saying we should not cook a kid in the milk of its mother.

[Actually, in the Tora it is said 3 times that it is forbidden to cook a kid in its mother’s milk. Moses told the people of Israel orally, that it is not just that kid must not be cooked in its own mother’s milk, but that certain types of beasts like a cow and a lamb, called in Hebrew “Behemoth”, cannot be cooked or eaten with milk of any other animal of the Behemoth category. Some people who don’t believe in the oral Tora did not accept that it was Moses who taught that and thought it was made up in a much later time, and here come the Pashtuns, proving them wrong, and making Jews amazed about them still keeping some parts of the oral Tora too!]
  Academic cooperation  

I had some discussions about what practical results we can accomplish in addition to the important result of getting to know each other and all. I know that some Pashtuns are frustrated that some countries are investing in certain fields but do not build hospitals for Pashtuns, universities, etc. To be perfectly honest, I’m not sure Israel can do stuff like that financially and it can be very complicated, even if it really wanted too.

But one feasible idea I do have. If we could overcome the passports and diplomatic issues, it might be possible to create foreign exchange student programs and let Pashtuns learn in Israeli universities. We have some of the best universities in the world, ranked very very high in fields like computer science, like the Techniun, Weizman Institute, Bar Ilan and the Tel Aviv University.

Do you think Pashtuns would be interested in such a program if it would be available in the (probably far) future?

  That would be awesooomeee 🙂


  I think this will be more practical but the main issue is the diplomatic problems. Personally I am interested to visit Israeli Universities. I missed some conferences in Israel because of this issue.

  But look at our Pakistani passports 🙁

That would be a great opportunity for Pashtun students to learn from one of the countries with the most advanced technology. But I would personally love to visit Jerusalem and other holy places.

  Jewish – a race or a religion  

Shalom to all friends and a question for the Israeli/Jewish friends: As far as I understand, ‘Jewish’ is not only a name of a religion, but ‘Jewish’ also refers to a race. In Israel, there are Jews from around the world. With regard to ethnicity, I wanted to ask which Jews are the real Jews (Abrahamic), I mean – come from the ancient Jews? Because some Jews look like Europeans or Russians and some look like Middle Eastern people. Black Jews are excluded from the question.

  Shalom. The people of the children of Jacob, our forefather, may not necessarily be a race. The nature of our beliefs allows people from other nations to join us and graft their souls into our people.

  Then why Black Jews are regarded as lesser Jews?

 They aren’t considered lesser Jews.

[The Sigd is a holiday of the Ethyopian Israelites (who lived in a kingdom named Beta Israel, meaning – the house of Israel, for more than 2000 years, and finally came to the holy land. In this holiday the Ethyopian Jews celebrate the giving of the Tora on mount Sinai.]

  As said above, we accepted converts. For example, Moses’s wife was a convert, and also king David’s great great grandmother (Ruth) [In principal, we don’t encourage non-Israelis to join the Israeli nation, but if they want it very much we accept them]. The black Jews are not lesser jews… They just accepted converts in Africa (Ethyopia). By the way, if you would have asked me, I would have guessed that prophet Yaakov looked like Pashtuns because he didn’t accept foreigners. [Although Pashtuns and Jews have a very similar look even after all those years.]

  Islamic and Jewish Israelites coexisting  

About Islam and Judaism. There are people around the globe who are convinced that if someone doesn’t agree with them he is going to hell forever and God hates him. I think this short story explains the irrationality behind this opinion, even if those people are correct about their religion.

Imagine a king who lived 300 years ago (or at any time when there were no phones). He had 2 sons – Yossef and Yusuf. One day the king left his kingdom for a trip, and left his 2 sons in charge.

The sons got along great. Years had passed, and one day a letter came to Yossef from the king saying that Yossef is his favorite son and that he is coming back in 10 days and he wants them to arrange a huge dinner of Chinese food at a city in the north of the kingdom. Yusuf was very busy so he couldn’t be told about that letter that day.

A day had passed and Yusuf got a letter saying the king is coming back in 9 days, changed his mind since the first letter, Yusuf is his favorite, and he wants Japanese food at the south of the kingdom.

Yusuf came to Yossef to tell him about the second letter. Yusuf was very disappointed to find out that Yossef believes the first letter! Yusuf was sure he has tons of evidence that the second letter is what the king really wants, and that the king changed his mind. Yossef on the other hand was sure that the first one is what the king really wants and he was sure he has tons of evidence that support his belief. They both knew about each other’s evidence from debating them and still couldn’t agree.

Anyway, Yossef started preparing a huge meal of Chinese food at the north. He didn’t really care who is the favorite, but he was sure that this is what his father, the king, really wants and he really wanted the king to be happy. Meanwhile, Yusuf prepared a huge meal of Japanese food at the south, to make his father, the king, happy.

The days had passed and the king arrived. At that moment they found out who was right. Let’s assume that son X was right and son Y was wrong. What do YOU think? Weren’t the king happy that Y did what He thought the king wants and went through all this trouble to prepare the huge dinner?

The king kissed both sons for doing what they thought the king wanted them to do, and went with son X. Of course he took son Y with them. They all lived happily ever after.

   Good work… “They both knew about each other’s evidence from debating them and still couldn’t agree.”

   Wow! Amazing thoughts, can I share it with my friends? 🙂

  Can? you must.

  History of Afghans  

   Bani Israel. How is it that some Pashtuns don’t believe it?

   There are different theories that people believe in. And the DNA of different Pashtuns also vary too much.

They have no idea what they are doing with those DNA tests… [There are many researchers that contradict each other even when they compare the same part of DNA (like mitDNA) of the same population.]

  Its confusing that our DNA varies too much, even between Pashtuns of near areas.

They are doing it all wrong scientifically. They assume that they know what they are doing, so they see that according to their baseless speculations your DNA varies too much.

What they Should do, and this is what is done in most sciences, is assume that their method is nothing but an approximation. Then, if according to their method your DNA varies too much, it means their method is off and they need to modify it. [Meaning, they should modify the method of DNA comparison or the assumptions of how much the DNA Should differ in a certain amount of time, when that method or assumptions don’t agree with reality, rather then modifying reality when it doesn’t agree with their method.]

  There’s a very wide consensus that I look like a Pashtun 

Do I look like Pashtuns? A friend told me I look like a Shinwari and I took it as a complement. What do you think?

   Yess!! Identical

   You are pure Shinwari or Zazai.

   Haha…. approved!

   Perfect Pushtoon.

   An Afghan turban will make it perfect.

   Yes you are look like a Pashtun.

  Yes. Typical Pashtoon.

  You look like Khost (Afghanistan) Pashtun.

   do I look like a Jew?


[And more…]

I hope you enjoyed those highlights. I can tell you that I absolutely love this group, and we are all hoping it will be successful and even give rise to practical ideas that will be eventually implemented and make the people of Israel a single nation, after so many years of separations. Please join us to support our cause. And all the people who think Muslims and Jews can’t get along in any way… Well… We are planning on completely demolishing their strange theory.

ועמך כלם צדיקים לעולם יירשו ארץ נצר מטעי מעשה ידי להתפאר
Nadav2By Nadav Sofy

The writer earns his living as a software developer, and spends his free time trying hard to bring the people of Israel closer to God and to each other. He has huge love and respect for the Pashtun nation and he is 100% sure that Pashtuns are his brothers, Bene Israel, the children of prophets Avraham, Yishak and Yaakov. The writer can be reached at


(The views expressed by this writer do not necessarily reflect the views and policies of THE PASHTUN TIMES)


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