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125432789 70517219 Ibo Benei Yisrael Jews of Nigeria

125432789 70517219 Ibo Benei Yisrael Jews of Nigeria

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Published by: Daniel Álvarez Malo on Nov 12, 2013
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The information in this document is copy written by the Ibo Benei-Yisrael Association
󰂩 󰂩 
 February 16, 2003.
The Ibo Benei-Yisrael Jews of Nigeria
Page 1 of 13
 Produced by the Ibo Benei-Yisrael Association of Nigeria
Rev. 3The Ibo Benei Yisrael Jews of Nigeria
The Ibo Benei-Yisrael of Nigeria, sometimes addressed as
"Igbo,"
 are an Ibo ethnic group whomdescended from the southern and westward migrations of both ancient Hebrew and later Israeli peoplesfrom the Middle East into Africa. In more modern times the ancestral homeland of the Ibo Benei-Yisraelis in the Southeast and Western regions of Nigeria. The area where a majority of Ibo dwells straddles theRiver Niger, which divides the River and the Anambra States. Nigeria operates on a federal structure, of36 states and the capital Abuja. The overall Ibo populations are normally found in the states of: Abia,Anambra, Ebonyi, Enugu, Rivers State, Delta State, and Imo.
 Fig. 1:
 Map of post Biafran War states of Nigeria
The oral traditions of the Ibo maintain that their presence has been in what is termed "Iboland" forover 1500 years. The same oral histories also state that their ancestors were migrants from ancient Israel,possibly beginning with the Semitic migrations from Northern Arabia into Eastern Africa around 500BCE.According to the Torah (Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, and Deuteronomy) the Israelipatriarch Ya`aqov ben-Yitzhhaq (Jacob son of Isaac), had twelve sons whose descendents became the 12tribes of Israel whom inherited the land of Canaan. There are several tribes of Israel, which according to
 
The information in this document is copy written by the Ibo Benei-Yisrael Association
󰂩 󰂩 
 February 16, 2003.
The Ibo Benei-Yisrael Jews of Nigeria
Page 2 of 13
 Produced by the Ibo Benei-Yisrael Association of Nigeria
Rev. 3
various elders fathered the Ibo clan structure within the Ibo populace as it exists today. These Ibo ethnicgroups are comprised of the following 3 lineage types:
 
Benei Gath:
 Ibos said to have descended from tribe of Gath ben-Ya`aqov, who was the 8
th
 son of theIsraeli patriarch Ya`aqov (Jacob).
[1]
 This lineage is traced though Gath's son Eri ben-Gath.
[2]
 Theclans said to come from this lineage comprise of the Aguleri, Umuleri, Oreri, Enugwu Ikwu,Ogbunike, Awkuzu, Nteje, and Igbariam.
 
Benei Zevulun:
 Ibos said to have descended from the tribe of Zevulun ben-Ya`aqov, who was the 5
th
son of Ya`aqov (Jacob).
[3]
 This lineage comprises of the Ubulu Okiti, Ubulu Ukwu, in Delta State,who settled in Ubulu Ihejiofor. According to tradition, it is said that a descendent of the tribe ofZevulun named Zevulunu, on the advice of an certain Levite, married a woman from Oji, whomdescended from the tribe of Judah, and from this union was born Ozubulu ben-Zebulunu. It is saidthat Ozubulu then went on to have 4 sons of his own who settled into other parts of the region.These sons being: Amakwa, from whom a clan in Neni, Anambra State descended, and Egbema, fromwhom the Egbema Ugwuta clan in Imo State and the Ohaji Egbema clan in Rivers State descended.
 
Benei Menashsheh:
 Ibos whom it is theorized may be descendents of the tribe of Meneshsheh ben-Yoseph, who was one of the grandsons of Ya`aqov (Jacob) through his 11
th
 son Yoseph (Joseph).
[4]
According to the Torah Jacob claimed both Menashsheh and his brother Ephrayim as his own sons.
[5]
 It theorized by some that this is the possible lineage of the Amichi, Ichi, Nnewi-Ichi clans.
 Fig. 2:
 Biblical division of the 12 Tribes of Israel in the land of Canaan
 
The information in this document is copy written by the Ibo Benei-Yisrael Association
󰂩 󰂩 
 February 16, 2003.
The Ibo Benei-Yisrael Jews of Nigeria
Page 3 of 13
 Produced by the Ibo Benei-Yisrael Association of Nigeria
Rev. 3
It is also more than possible that certain Ibo Benei-Yisrael families may be descendents ofLevitical
(Levite Priests)
 migrants from Jerban, Tunisia whom were said to have left Judah and settled inNorth Africa before and after the destruction of the 1
st
 and 2
nd
 Temples in Jerusalem.
[6]
 The most likelyscenario is that the ancestors of the Ibo Benei-Yisrael were made up of familiar clans of Israelis and Judaens whom, for various reasons, left Israel before and during the Assyrian and Babylonian sieges.This would explain how their oral tradition contains the specific tribes these clans originated from.
Methods of Hebrew and Jewish Migrations into the Maghreb (West)
According to most accounts, the earliest Israeli settlements in Africa were in places such asEthiopia, Egypt and Tunisia. It is believed that these settlements may have been in existence as early asthe kingdoms of David and Solomon, as well as during the Assyrian invasion of northern Israel in 722BCE and the Babylonian captivity of Judah in 586 BCE in the Punic-Carthaginian age. These communitieswere augmented by subsequent arrivals of Jews after the destruction of the 2
nd
 Jerusalem Temple in 70CE, when 30,000 Jewish slaves were settled throughout Carthage by the Roman emperor Titus.
[7]
Africa is thus identified with it even more closely (Tamid, 32
b
, and the parallel passage, where,"African land," is evidently the same as Carthage). The Septuagint (Isa. xxiii. 1), and Jerome (on Ezek.xxvii.), who, though a Christian, was taught by Jews, and very often the Aramaic Targum on theProphets, identify the Biblical Tarshish with Carthage, which was the birthplace of a number of rabbismentioned in the Talmud (compare above the identification with Tunis). Africa, in the broader sense, isclearly indicated where mention is made of the Ten Tribes having been driven into exile by the Assyriansand having journeyed into Africa
(Mek., Bo, 17; Tosef., Shab. vii. 25; Deut. R. v. 14; and especially Sanh. 94a)
.Connected with this is the idea that the river Sambation is in Africa. The Arabs, who also knowthe legend of the Beni Musa ("Sons of Moses"), agree with the Jews in placing their land in
 Africa (compareBacher, "Ag. Tan." i. 298; Epstein, "Eldad ha-Dani," p. 15)
. The probable basis of this legend must be soughtin the actual existence of the Beta Yisrael (Jews of Ethiopia) in Africa. Rabbi Akiba, who traveled inAfrica, on one occasion made use of an African word (Rapoport, in "Bikkure ha-'Ittim," iv. 70, 1823).
[8]
In terms of the Ibo Benei-Yisrael, there are three possible methods from which their Jewishancestry arrived within West Africa, specifically Nigeria.1)
 
Through early Hebrew and later Israeli migrations west from the Arabian Peninsula, Egypt, Ethiopia,Kenya, and the Sudan.2)
 
Through trade and travel of North African Jews within the West African Kingdoms of Mali, Songhai,and Kanem-Bornu.3)
 
Through Jews traveling with Kel Tamasheq (Tuareg) trade caravans from various parts of NortheastAfrica into West Africa.

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