Are many Palestinians really Jews?

Thursday, June 16, 2011 |  Aviel Schneider

In the shadow of the conflict over the Promised Land more and more Palestinians are disclosing the truth: Entire families are considering conversion to Judaism. They claim that their ancestors were forced to choose between religion (Judaism) and remaining on the Land, and hence, they were compelled to convert to Islam.

On our forays into the biblical heartland of Judea and Samaria we have met many Palestinians who have told us about their Jewish ancestry. For their own protection, we cannot publish everything that we were told.

These Palestinians are part of the seed of Israel and could be called “Palestinian Marranos” - like the “secret Jews” of Spain in the 15th century who were forced to convert to Christianity, but covertly remained observant Jews. By returning to the Jewish religion and nation, they foresee a peaceful resolution of the conflict.

“My great great-grandparents immigrated to Israel from Yemen about 300 years ago,” Mohammed Sir told Israel Today. “My grandfather and my father told me that we are actually Jews. As Jews they would have been forced to pay protection money in order to live here under Islamic rule.”

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