The Genetic History of the Jews

In this conversation, the geneticist and writer Razib Khan talks to the pundit Jonah Goldberg about the advances in genetics over the past two decades, the interactions between Homo sapiens and other similar species, and how natural selection is shaping humans today. Of particular interest is the middle segment, where the two discuss what genetic research can tell us about Jews, and about the origins of Ashkenazi Jews in particular. (Khan also wrote about the subject here, but a subscription is required to read the entire post.)

Khan’s conclusions, it’s worth noting, align quite closely with what is known from liturgical traditions, the writings of early Ashkenazim, and other elements of the historical record. For instance: the fact that Ashkenazi genomes tend to show Middle Eastern and southern European (likely Italian) ancestry comports with Jews from the Land of Israel and elsewhere in the Middle East arriving in Italy and from there migrating to France and western Germany. The evidence also suggests that most of the European genetic influx occurred during late antiquity and the early Middle Ages, when there were fewer barriers to conversion to Judaism. (Audio, 75 minutes. The discussion of Jews begins around the 35:51 mark.)

Read more at The Remnant

More about: Genetics, Jewish history

As Hamas’s Power Collapses, Old Feuds Are Resurfacing

In May, Mahmoud Nashabat, a high-ranking military figure in the Fatah party (which controls the West Bank-based Palestinian Authority), was gunned down in central Gaza. Nashabat was an officer in the Gaza wing of the Aqsa Martyrs’ Brigade, a terrorist outfit that served as Fatah’s vanguard during the second intifada, and now sometimes collaborates with Hamas. But his killers were Hamas members, and he was one of at least 35 Palestinians murdered in Gaza in the past two months as various terrorist and criminal groups go about settling old scores, some of which date back to the 1980s. Einav Halabi writes:

Security sources familiar with the situation told the London-based newspaper Asharq Al-Awsat that Gaza is now also beleaguered by the resurgence of old conflicts. “Many people have been killed in incidents related to the first intifada in 1987, while others have died in family disputes,” they said.

The “first-intifada portfolio” in Gaza is considered complex and convoluted, as it is filled with hatred among residents who accuse others of killing relatives for various reasons, including collaboration with Israel. . . . According to reports from Gaza, there are vigorous efforts on the ground to contain these developments, but the chances of success remain unclear. Hamas, for its part, is trying to project governance and control, recently releasing several videos showcasing how its operatives brutally beat residents accused of looting.

These incidents, gruesome as they are, suggest that Hamas’s control over the territory is slipping, and it no longer holds a monopoly on violence or commands the fear necessary to keep the population in line. The murders and beatings also dimension the grim reality that would ensue if the war ends precipitously: a re-empowered Hamas setting about getting vengeance on its enemies and reimposing its reign of terror.

Read more at Ynet

More about: Fatah, Gaza War 2023, Hamas