Who is a Jew? According to a messianic group from America, you can find out for only $300 with a private DNA test and according to this test, the Jewish genetic family does not include Igbo people of Nigeria, a tribe of 30 million who have claimed a connection to Judaism for hundreds of years.
Jewish Voice Ministries, a messianic group from Arizona, announced this week that the Igbo are not “genetically” Jewish based on their private DNA tests.
Jewish Voice Ministries said they traveled to Nigeria to investigate claims that the Igbo people are descendants of ancient Israelites. Some Igbo believe that the term “Igbo” is a bastardized version of the word “Hebrew” and point to many cultural similarities between Igbo traditions and Judaism
“The purpose of the tests was to provide them with testing and the pursuit of truth in terms of historical identity,” said a spokesman for Jewish Voice Ministries. “The DNA did not support their claim to be an ancient people of Israel, but we still consider them our brothers through common faith in the Messiah Yeshua.”
Remy Ilona, a Nigerian lawyer and professor, strongly denounced the test. Ilona is Igbo and a member of the approximately 10,000 Igbos who follow what he calls “rabbinical Judaism.”
“There is no test that can prove Jewishness,” said Ilona. “The culture has to point in that direction, and maybe a test can confirm what the culture is already saying. The Igbos that are connecting to Judaism have no connection to these DNA tests and we oppose this,” he added.
Ilona said he understands why some Igbos agreed to get tested. “Africa is an area of the world that everyone tends to look down on,” he said. “Even though my Israelite culture is strong, because we’re Africans we are viewed with skepticism. I wanted that to be covered so if you talk about culture, we will provide proof that our culture is Jewish.”
Ilona was furious about the way the test was conducted. “The Jewish Voice came in and gave people the impression it’s a Jewish organization,” he said.
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