The amazing story of the Jewish converts of Hebron

For some time now, rumour has it that some Palestinians living in the West Bank are of Jewish ancestry. To Point of No Return’s attention comes conclusive information that three clans living in the Hebron area are the Muslim branches of Jewish families.

Rahamim S Dwek contends that a branch of his family, now known as Dweik,  converted to Islam in the 14th century under Egyptian Mamluk rule. Hebron is the only city where Jews converted in large numbers, says Dwek. The same thing happened to the Samaritans of Nablus (Shekhem) After every anti-Samaritan pogrom, more converted to Islam.  ( The last occurred in 1858. ) The Samaritan  sect would have become extinct had Palestine not come under British rule in the 1920s.

According to Rahamim Dwek,  other Arab clans refused to intermarry with the Muslim Dweik family for seven centuries. It is a sad irony that, to prove they are more ‘Arab than Arab’, members of the Dweik clan today comprise  the leadership of the  Hamas apparatus in Hebron, notably Abdel Aziz Dweik, Palestinian spokesman who has served long terms in Israel’s prisons. Most Dweiks are still known for their fair complexion and blue eyes.

Issa Amro and Bad’ia Dweik are in the forefront of the propaganda campaign against Israel. Amro, says Rahamim Dwek, was born in a Jewish home stolen from its owners, members of the Masri Bajao clan, in what Arabs call Tel Rumeida, known to the Jews as Tel Yishai.

Apart from the Dweik clan, two other tribes converted from Judaism – the  al-Jabari and the al-Rajab clans.  These are not their original names. All three clans resent public discussion of their Jewish roots.

The tragedy of the 1929 Hebron massacre still casts a shadow. Issa Amro’s grandfather murdered Jews, but his great-grandfather Abu Shaqer gallantly protected Rahamim’s great-grandfather Rav Yaakov Yosef Slonim Dwek, by standing in the doorway of their house. He was one of 19 Arabs who helped save Jews in 1929 and almost had his foot severed by an axe in the process. Even as his attackers called him a traitor, he would not budge.

 Sheikh Shaqer’s sons murdered Rahamim’s ancestors, including his grandfather,  when Sheikh Marqah led the attack on the family home. Rahamim’s father Shlomo,  then a babe in arms – survived, although injured, because his mother fell on top of him when her assailants sliced off her breasts.

Shlomo S Dwek, only survivor in his family’s home of the Hebron massacre

His aunt Rivka, who later gave birth to  Yosef Burg, father of the controversial Knesset speaker  Avraham Burg, would also have been murdered had she not moved into another family property with her  father.

Rahamim Dwek is sceptical about the claims of Tzvi Misinaiwho amplified the theory first propounded by Israel’s president  Ben Zvi that many Arabs in the Hebron area descend from Jews. A stone lintel with a star of David on an Arab house does not mean anything because Arabs always recycled extant materials from previous periods, he says. Similarly Arab culture in the area could have been influenced by Jewish custom when they circumcised their infants at eight days rather than at the Arab norm of 11 or 12 years.


  • I really doubt that. For one thing, if a Jewish family did this near Hebron 250-years ago there is no way that it would be omitted from heneaologies of Baladi families like mine, the Masri Badjao, Abu Shajid, Franko (my mum's fam) Avrahami, etc. One, maybe, two? Realm of possibility but many Dephardi Mizrachi families maintain impeccable geneaologies going back many centuries (mine to the 9th Century CE but mentioned in others fo the 4th). It is like this because Arranged Marriages are incredibly researched by potential fanilies. Lookbatcthe Halabi & Dimashqi Jews in the Americas. The "Edicts," in which they will moy even marry Ashkenazim. This is because they cannot be sure of their ancestry. So these geneaologies serve as a great local reference on such issues.

    On "Suicude Bombers," as stated in the Blog unfortunately the Arabs in Sector H2 who descend from Jews are the Arabs' Arab. In the Dweks, they run the district HAMAS apparattus on the political end. The family running the so called "military" end the al Qawasmeh, are a branch of the Jews who became the "al Rajabi." Behavioral Scientists, Psychiatrists & Psychologists would probably have a field day with that. Definitely a career-making study in that but strangely not even Israeli academics have thought to try & explore that.

    The second thing that makes the Sheetrit question improbable is that unfortunately, tragically, the Arabs descending from Jews in Sector H2 were not Forced Conversions. It DID takeplace with Samaritans, but not wity Hebron Jewry. In my Khamulah the branch that converted did so for exonomic & social advantages, as was the case with the other 2 clans. In the Bahri Mamalik Era (there were 2 consecutive Mamalik (
    [Mameluke] eras). al Jizya (money they extorted from us to give us the privilege of living on our own indigenous land) increased by a factor of almost 14. Conversion erased this backbreaking onus. It also erased the huge stigma that Arabs held against us.

    Hpwever, with the Samaritans up until the 19th Century CE they dealt with forced Conversion. The 'Ayan in Shechem were very different. In Hebron they were greedy and valued Islam over monetary gain.

  • I heard that the Moroccan Jewish Sheetreet family in or near Hebron were forced to convert to Islam about 250 years ago. Many of the suicide bombers were said to be of the Dwek family of Hebron in order to PROVE that they were "real Arabs."

  • First, Eran Ehalik is a fraud. Long before he was degreed he had a GoFundMe Page. On it he begged for cash to prove that Aahlemazim descend- as you correctly noted- from the Khazars. He stated that he is obsessed with proving that & has been since he was a child. He had read Arthur Koedtler's absurd book, "13th Tribe."

    Koestler, a Jewish Communist, hoped to destroy Anti Semitism which he foolishly believed rested squarely un the idea that Jews had killed Jesus. If he could prove that Ashkenazim were not descended from Judaeans- that they were not Semites- then people would stop hating Jews.

    Of course Anti Semitism has a wide and varied palette of rpot causes. No matter what Jews do or do not do, we will always be hated by many Goyim.

    Fast forward to the GoFundMe Page…Scientists who are obsessed with proving a partisan stance are the worst people to investigate anything. As someone better than me once said, Elhaik's first paper was like drawing a bullseye on paper, then shoved the arrorw into it.

    His lover Dan Grauer from Tel Aviv University left to take a position at the University of Houston in the US. Elhaik soon followed and there he Advised Elhaik ob the path to both his degrees.

    Elhaik finally struck out on his own and got a research position at John Hopkins University. There he published his paper. The thing is, there was only just one referee in the perr review process…Dan Grauer! Talk about shady.

    On the second paper, he onitted samples from the Kraylars, a group actually descended from Khazars! If you want to prove that Ashkenazim are descended from Khazars, wby woukd you omit that???!,

  • Sand and his friend Eran Elhaik, if I am not mistaken, seized on the fact that Ashkenazim shared some genetic traits with Armenians. This was –so absurdly– taken as proof that the Ashkenazim were descended from Khazars!! But how so? Historical Armenia was located in the southern Caucasus and NE Turkey of today. The Khazars, in fact a Turkic people, inhabited the northeastern coast of the Black Sea and just north of the northern Caucasus. There is the proof, Elhaik and others claimed!!! By the way, if this were true it would mean that the Armenians are of Turkic descent!! Why don't you ask some Armenians how they feel about that claim???

    Dozens of nationalities live in the Caucasus and high mountains separate the north from the south. Yet Elhaik asserted that Armenians were somehow closely related to Khazars. Since Elhaik's article making these claims got a very poor reception, it seems to have been dropped. But it may come back.
    Here is more about Shlomo Sand and related issues:

  • As I said above, I believe that Islam is the biggest thing standing between Jews and Muslim Arabs in the Land of Israel.

    As to DNA, it must very much bother some of the anti-Zionist intellectuals, such as Shlomo Sand. In his first book of anti-Zionism, he claims that the Ashkenazim are descended from Khazars and the North African Jews from Berbers. Since he is aware that this is disproved by the Genetic studies of DNA, he belittles these studies, this research, by insinuating that the scholars who did this research –some dozens by now– were all somehow Israeli government agents. In fact, many were Jews from outside Israel and many others were not Jewish. Some of these researchers were Italians and Spaniards. See link:

    • There are more than 7,000 peer reviewed papers on the Jewish Genome and all but 3 find that the vast bulk of all Jews- are within 4 to 6 degrees of one another with common ancestry in Judaea.

      The only excepttions are Ethiopians and 3 of the 5 Indiann groups, B'nei Efra'im, B'nei Menasheh & Cochin. All 4 of those latter groups are descended from locally converted populations.

      Ethiopians comverted in Antiquity, perhaps 2 millenia ago and until their Aliyot only married amongst one another.

      The Cochin in India likewise converted in Antiquity, well over 12 centuries ago, perhaps much further back. Because of India's Caste system is tied so closely to skintone the Cochin who are mocha coloured usually, never pushed to intermarry with other Jewish groups there.

      The B'nei Efra'im & B'nei Menasheh descend from Ethnic Chin, Hilltribesmen who live mostly within Myanmar (i.e. Burma). Between 1920 and the present these Tribesmen have been converting to Judaism, a gradual process that began with Protestant Missionaries way back when. Eventually some wise men amongst them rejected Xtianity while searching for a more authentic faith.

      All 4 aforementioned groups have comvulated origin narratives. I will not boar folks with it.

  • FYI, the book is called The Exiled and the Redeemed – one of my favorite books. In it, Ben zvi implies that he has reason to believe that some Palestinian Arabs are actually descended from jews and samaritans. Also, dna only tells part of the story. All middle eastern peoples share a certain amount of dna with other middle eastern peoples to some degree or another. Thats because all middle eastern peoples are related to each other in some way. And to BATAWEEN, I've never believed in the concept of "too late". I believe outreach is still possible. We just need to start by taking baby steps.

  • These stories of Jewish ancestry are not rumors. As you point out, Yits'haq Ben Zvi did research on this subject, and could also refer to the research of Samuel Klein, and arrived at the conclusion that many or most Arabs in the Hebron region were of Jewish ancestry. He wrote a book on the general subject and related subjects, not only relating to the Hebron Arabs. The book is called in English something like Exiled and Returned or some such title. You can look it up. Now of course we also have DNA data. So what stands between Jews and Arabs now and what motivates their hatred and jihad against Israel is Islam.

    Of course, it would be hard to tell that to Western Judeophobes in their "anti-Zionist" disguise. They have their own reasons for hating Jews.

    • Only the 3 Khanulah in and around Sector H2 are descended from Jews. Ben Tzvi was a great soldier, a great politician hut had zero training in Ethnography, Demography and given that era was not able to apply Genetic Assays to confirm his hunches. There are a couple of other Arab Clans elsewhere on both sides of the Greenline who also descend from Jews but unlike those in H2, they freely intermarried with Arabs so it is a very different dynamix. In and aroubd Shechem several Khulah descend from Samaritans. Their last conversion out was after the 1858 Anti Samaritan Pogrom.

  • Somehow I think it is too late for outreach. These clans have benn Muslim for six centuries and are among the most hostile to Israel. To remind them of their Jewish origins would be to rub salt in the wound!

  • Perhaps if israelis/jews organized an outreach, a deep friendship could be established if not actual conversion back to Judaism. A similar attempt is already taking place in the southwestern US between jews and several groups of mexican "catholics".

    • The 3 Arab Khamulahs in Sector H2 in Hebron despise their Jewish ancestry and would, for most, rather kill a Jew let alone talk to them, never mind talk about converting back. They live amomgst Jews and most of them interact with Jews everu day so it is not a question of sniling more, bending over backwards more, etc.

      On people in Mexico & the Southwestern US, most of them have no Jewish ancestry- despite sensationalised claims over the years. Those that may have sone Jewish ancestry, let alone are cognisant of that fact, our ancestors double with each preceding generation.

      We have 2 parents, 4 grandparents, 8 great-grandparents, etc. When we go back to the 16th Century CE we have well over 1-million direct ancestors. So, if someone is one 1/1,000,000th Jewish it means nothing. That said, we believe in re-incarnation in Judaism and so a person inexplicably drawn to Jews is believed to have been Jewish in at least one prior incarnation.

      In Hebron the 3 Arab Clans were never allowed to marry other Arabs so that it is a unique dynamic.


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