Research (from ScienceDaily): “Using sophisticated genomic analysis, scientists have probed the ancestry of several Jewish and non-Jewish populations and better defined the relatedness of contemporary Jewish people. The research, may shed light on the question, first raised more than a century ago, of whether Jews are a race, a religious group or something else.
“The genetic, cultural and religious traditions of contemporary Jewish people originated in the Middle East over three thousand years ago. Since that time, Jewish communities have migrated from the Middle East into Europe, North Africa and across the world. The migration of Jews to new locales is known as the Diaspora. This study shows that although Jewish people experienced genetic mixing with surrounding populations, they retained a genetic coherence along with a religious one. …
“‘We have shown that Jewishness can be identified through genetic analysis, so the notion of a Jewish people is plausible. Yet the genomes of the Jewish Diaspora groups have distinctive features that are representative of each group’s genetic history,” says Dr. Ostrer.
“Dr. Ostrer noted, ‘The study supports the idea of a Jewish people linked by a shared genetic history. Yet the admixture with European people explains why so many European and Syrian Jews have blue eyes and blonde hair.’”