A program to test the Igbo of Nigeria for genetic links to Jews has heightened tensions between international groups representing mainstream Jews and Messianic Jews.
In February, Jewish Voice Ministries International organized a test to compare genetic samples from some 100 members of the Igbo group, who claim ancestral connections to the biblical Israelites, against a DNA bank of genes collected from Jews.
Shavei Israel, a high-powered Israeli organization also ramping up their own outreach to the Igbo, does not welcome the test and sees it as part of the growing threat Messianic Jews pose to the Israeli group’s mission.
“So called Messianic Jews are soul-snatchers and missionaries, who are trying to sell people a false bill of goods,” said Michael Freund, Shavei’s founder and chairman. “They try to convince some of these communities to unwittingly call themselves Jewish while at the same time believe in the Christian faith.”
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