US/World News

Researchers claim to confirm Indian Bene Israel community’s Jewish roots

(JNS.org) A new study conducted by Tel Aviv University (TAU), Cornell University, and the Albert Einstein College of Medicine has claimed to discover genetic proof that the Bene Israel community in western India has Jewish roots. The Bene Israel community has always considered itself Jewish and believes it descends from 14 Jews who found themselves on India’s Konkan shore after they were shipwrecked. Legends indicate the shipwreck could have happened 2,000 years ago, while others estimate the date of the event to be about 175 BCE or in the 8th century BCE. Yedael Waldman, the study’s lead author and a faculty member within TAU’s Department of Molecular Microbiology, said that before this study, there has been “no independent support for Bene Israel claims of Jewish ancestry.” The study’s team conducted genome-wide analyses on the genetic markers of 18 Bene Israel individuals. The results explain that the Jewish and Indian ancestors of the Bene Israel interbred anywhere from 19 to 33 generations ago, or between 650 and 1,050 years ago.

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