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February 12, 2003

Fertile Crescent observations

Christ (Muhammed?), I'm going to be labelled a "warblogger" if I don't shut my mouth up about yogurt-eating Arabs and their falafel loving Jewish cousins...but, anyone notice how it can be argued that all the states of the old Fertile Crescent (Mesopatamia + the Levant) are ruled by ethno-religious minorities? Iraq-Sunni Arabs (25-30% of the population), Syria-the Alawites (10% of the population), Jordan-the indigenous Bedouins through the Hashemite dynasty (30% of the population, most of the rest consists of Palestinians), and Israel, ruled by Ashkenazi Jews (someone, Diane, help me out with the numbers, I'd estimate that 35% of Israel is old-line Ashkenazi, with Russians, Sephardic/Oriental Jews and Arabs forming the balance).

Posted by razib at 12:59 AM




Lessee. Numbers aren't my strong point, as I proved back in the ole Charlie Rangel-wrangle but....

Arabs are 18% of the pop'n. Round that to twenty percent. That leaves 5 million souls.

Of the remaining 80% (5M), about 60% were Oriental before the Russians came. I don't know what the percentage is now; most Russians are Ashkenazi, or an Ashkenazi/Slavic Christian mix, except for a few Georgians and Mountain Jews, who are really not Oriental, although they are called so...

I think that 35% old line Ashkenazi is about right.

Posted by: Diana at February 12, 2003 09:50 AM


Ashkenazic Jews are an ethnic, not a religious, minority. Orthodox Ashkenazic and Sephardic Jews differ only in a few matters of observance.

Posted by: Jonathan Edelstein at February 12, 2003 06:43 PM


out of curiousity, are you trying to take back the word "heeb" and empower your people with it jon? :)

Posted by: razib at February 12, 2003 07:24 PM


No, nothing that complicated. Click on "Who Is The Head Heeb?" on my sidebar and you'll see where the name came from.

Posted by: Jonathan Edelstein at February 13, 2003 04:40 AM


Not sure what your point is Jonathan. Ashkenazic Jews and Sephardic Jews are ethnically pretty similar, but there are some differences. If maternal lineages are local, then A Jews and S Jews have different maternal lineages. Paternal lineages are pretty much the same.

Posted by: Diana at February 13, 2003 10:25 AM


oh diana, you've turned into SUCH A NERD!

jon, yeah, i read that. just poking fun. do you know how many people initially assume i'm a 'white supremacist' before reading the site closely? over at metafilter someone found the fact that i used to the term "Third Reich" instead of "Nazi regime" rather suspicious....

Posted by: razib at February 13, 2003 11:43 AM


Razib, why you little fun-poker, you. I had to restrain myself from using the word "haplotype" rather than "lineage."

(Erm, because I didn't know if I would make a fool of myself by saying "maternal haplotype", but I know that "maternal lineage" is OK!)

Posted by: Diana at February 13, 2003 12:57 PM