According to the Pashtuns – the largest ethnic group in Afghanistan – not only are they descendants of the Ephraim Israelite tribe but of king Saul himself.
Notably, the Pashtuns call themselves ‘Bnei-Israel’, which literally means Israelites in Hebrew, and practice many Jewish traditions. For example, they do not mix meat and dairy, they bury their nails and break glass when they marry.
Moreover, some of them live in Dashti Yahood, meaning the Jews’ desert, or in the Solomon mountains. Their clans carry Jewish names such as Rabani (Ruben), Josophazi (Joseph), and Afardi (Ephraim)
Pashto tradition tells that King Saul had two grandchildren, Jeremiah and Afghanistan, that later were exiled to Afghanistan by the Assyrians. Afghan tradition also tells of the exodus from Egypt under the leadership of Musa, accompanied by the Mishkan known by them as “Tabut-i-Sakina”, the Ark of the Divine Presence. It is further narrated in those books that until converted to Isalm, the Pashtuns lived by the Torah (the first five books of the old testament).
Afghans count 45 generations from King Saul to Kais Abdu-Rashid, who spread Islam in Afghanistan and is considered the father of the Pashtun nation.
Bonus Fact 1: Today only one Jew lives in Afghanistan, Zvulun Siman Tov. Till 2005 another jew lived nearby, one Issac Levy, but they two hated each other and were not on speaking terms.
Bonus Fact 2: the Pashto are estimated to number 60 million people. They are the largest ethnic in Afghanistan, forming 42% of the total population; and the second-largest ethnic group in Pakistan forming 15% of the total population.