Anti-Semites will use any and every angle they can to discredit Israel and the rights of Jews to live there. One of the most common canards advanced by the anti-Semites is the claim that European Jews are not real Jews, that they are not descendants of the ancient Israelites, and do not come from the Levant region where Israel is located. You will hear such terms as “Khazars,” “Ashkenazim,” and “Slavs.” In spite of scientific and genetic evidence that all Jews – Ashkenazi or Sephardi – can trace their ancestry to the Levant (see https://www.familytreedna.com/PDF/Genetics-of-Ashkenazi-Jewish-origins.pdf) the accusation persists.
In order to advance the lie that the modern Jew is not related to the ancient Israelites or the “real Jews,” the anti-Semites will often present red-headed Jews as proof, often in a very derogatory way, as shown here:
Can this be the truth? Does the fact that there are some red-headed Jews mean that the modern day Jews are impostors? That they have no connection to the ancient Israelites or the land of Israel? Of course not. It’s just another antisemitic canard advanced by Jew haters to try and convince others that the Jews are not what they think. That they are an evil, sub-human group. Let’s look at this from several angles to dispel this vicious antisemitic lie.
What is Red Hair?
Red hair occurs in up to 2% of world population and most frequently in Northern and Western Europe whose prevalence of red hair rises up to 6%. It is a recessive gene and a genetic mutation. If the anti-Semites used red hair to identify Jews as European, it would dispel another anti-Semitic canard that all Jews come from the Eastern Khazars which are not known for red hair and do not come from the region where red hair is most prevalent, such as the Scandinavian areas. But anti-Semites are not in the business of disproving lies about Jews, they are in the business of starting and advancing them, so they have no problems advancing both lies often at the same time.
Getting back to the issue of red hair, people all around the world contain the gene mutation that results in red hair, from China to Papua New Guinea to the Berbers of North Africa to, yes even, the Middle East.
Here is a Melanesian red-headed woman from Papua New Guinea with the red hair gene mutation.
And who can forget the Iraqi military commander and Saddam Hussein adviser Izzat Ibrahim al-Douri with his bright read hair, thick red mustache, and fair complexion.
Yes, there are even red-headed Palestinians, as evidenced by this man with a large bushy red beard gathered outside the house of a 17 year old terrorist in the Palestinian Territories after the terrorist broke into the bedroom of a 12 year old Jewish girl and stabbed her to death in her sleep.
Even looking at a map showing the genetic haplogroup that determines red hair R1b shows the Levant clearly included.
What about the Jews?
A 1903 study in New York City of 2300 Jews found that the vast majority had dark hair and only 3% had red hair. I would assume that is within a standard deviation of the global prevalence of red hair. If you just look at men’s beards, over 10% of Jewish men have red beards. Well doesn’t 3% seem a little high or 10% for beards? Not really when you considered that Jews were forcibly evicted from their homes and scattered to places in the known world including the rest of the middle east and yes, Europe. One thing that anti-Semites require of all Jews is to show pure racial homogeneity to prove they are Jews and entitled to return to their ancestral home. An impossible requirement. The truth is like all people in the world past and present, Jews in Europe at times married the local population and integrated them into the community or the “tribe.” So yes, there are European genes among Jews, just as there are in South American among the native populations from the invasion of the conquistadors or in all parts of the world controlled by the British Empire. But in the end, remember that science proves that all Jews share a common middle eastern ancestry regardless were they were exiled to or the proportionally few number of interracial/interfaith marriages that occurred.
The Ancient Israelites, King David, and Red Hair
That still does not give us insight into the ancient inhabitants of the land of Israel and the modern Jews connection or disassociation from them based on red hair. Does it? Our knowledge of ancient Israel and Israelites comes from the Bible. Let’s analyze the Bible not as a work of theology, but as a historical collections of tales told by ancient people who relate their experiences in their writing.
The Jewish Bible, or what the Christians call the Old Testament, does not often give physically descriptions of biblical figures unless they are distinctive or germane to the tale. For example Queen Esther is described for her abounding beauty, which is important to her story and why the Persian king chose her.
In the book of Samuel I, Samuel is instructed by G-d to find the next king of Israel. He is sent to a man named Jesse to meet his sons as possible candidates. He meets the seven oldest sons and they are quickly dismissed. They are not given any kind of distinctive physical description, nor is Jesse the father or their family as a whole. But when Samuel meets David the Shepard, the youngest son and the man who would be the most famous king in Israel’s history, he is very specifically described.
The word they use to translate as ruddy is admoni.
Admoni comes from the root word in Hebrew of Adom or Red
Modern Hebrew uses the transliteration of the English word “ginger” – gingi – instead of admoni to demote a person with red hair because the definition of admoni is debated. However, modern Hebrew does use admoni to for red haired animals, such as:
- Pandor Admoni – Red Panda
- Ze’ev Admoni – Red Wolf
Biblical scholars and historians are split on whether the description of David as adomi refers to his hair, his face (rosy cheeks), or both. But red hair is just as if not more likely than red faced. If you look at David’s description as a whole you can imagine the young David, with his red hair/cheeks, fair/beautiful eyes, and attractive appearance, looked something like this:
Often people who are described as having a ruddy face also have a fair complexion and/or red hair to match.
We know that the writer(s) of the bible meant to describe David physically as admoni (red) and not an allusion to his personality. The biblical authors were very careful to not assign similar personality traits to both heroes and anti-heroes of the bible. The only other individual who is described with the word admoni in the bible is Essau, who is painted in very negative light. It is extremely unlikely that they would have used the same personality trait for one of the least likable and one of the most likable figures in the entire bible. It is more likely that admoni referred to both of them sharing the recessive red-headed gene.
So biblical exegesis shows us that King David is the only brother described with red hair and also one of only two individuals in the entire bible with red hair.
In other words, there were people with red hair among the ancient Israelites, but they were few in number. Doesn’t that sound a bit like modern Jews?
David was one of eight brothers with red hair – or 12% – statistically similar to the number of modern Jewish men with red beards. Surely if one of the most famous ancient Israelites can possess red hair so can modern day Jews, don’t you think?
The truth is the entire argument put forward by the anti-Semites is an exercise in futility. Any person anywhere can have red hair. Hair color is irrelavant. It is just an attempt on their part to advance a false narrative that results in the destruction of the Jewish nation state and the elimination of the Jews. Hopefully you will see that whether it is red hair or Khazars or David Icke’s theory that Jews are a race of reptilian extra-terrestrials, the affect is the same, to demonize and dehumanize the Jewish people.
More images of red headed Arabs and Mid East people
Facts and figures for this blog post were gathered from: