Isaiah 11:11-12 "And it will be on that day , G-d will extend again his arm to the remainder of His people which remain in Assyria and Egypt and from Patros and Kush…, and he will raise a Banner to the Gentiles and will gather the banished of Israel ,and the dispersed of Judah will he bring togeather from the four corners of the earth".
1. The Locations of the Exile. According to the sources quoted in reseach work on diaspora and also examining sources which refer to the return of the tribes (Isaiah 11 and 28) , it seems that the kings of Assyria exiled the Ten Tribes to Kingdom of Assyria (Kings II,15 and 17) and across the Euphrates river (Kings I, 4) . The prophecy of Ahijah the Shilonite (kings I,14) states: “And He will root up Israel out of this good land, which He gave to their fathers, and will scatter them beyond the river”. The general direction is thought to be north of Israel, although it may easily be east or north-east.
It is nor certain what the size of the Assyrian empire was, and where its borders lay. However , it is reasonable to assume that the exile of the Ten Tribes would have been to some far province belonging to the empire. The expanse of proven by the exile to the cities of Medes which are north of Persia in the region of what is known today as Kurdistan, and also from the conquest of the distant land of Israel.
Other locations mentioned as placed of exile were the river Gozan, Habor, Halah or Lahlah, and Hara (Kings II,17 and 18; Chronicles 1,5). Where are these places?
According to Saadia Gaon, “river Gozan” is the river north of the city of Balach in the north of Afghanistan. The river is known today as the “AmufiDarya”, and is the border between Afghanistan and Russia. Afghanistan tradition states that the whole river was once known as the Gozen River.
“Habor” is located in the pass between Afghanistan and Pakistan , and is called Pesh-Habor in Afghani (Pesh means Pass) after the city of the pass. The city is known today as Peshawar.
“Hara” is the city of Harat near the Persian border. It is the third largest city in Afghanistan . The prophecy of Isaiah states that the exile will bring the tribes to the land lof Sinim”: “Behold , these shall come from far, and , lo, these from the north and from the west, and these from the land of Sinim “( Isaiah 49:12) . This implies that the exile may have started in the regions of Persia, Kurdistan and Afghanistan, after which the wandering continued eastward toward Pakistan, Kashmir, Tibet, China etc., and we believe this fits the present situation .
The Tribe of the Pathans. The pathans number about 15 million people, living mainly in Afghanistan and Pakistan, but also in Persia, India and neighbouring countries.. They have a tradition of being of the Children of Israel, and have customs such as circumcision on the eighth day , fringes, knowledge of the Sabbath, and knowledge of pure an impure foods. Some wear amulets containing “ Shema Israel” in Hebrew, and they retain names of lost tribes such as Reuven, Naphtali, Gad, Asher, and sons of Joseph. The region has archeological finds testifying to a Hebrew past, they resemble Jews of the area, and their language (Pashtu ) has many Hebrew words according to many eastern and western researchers.
The people of Kashmir. The nation numbers 5 – 7 million people, inhabiting northern India and its border with Afghanistan. They have a strong Israelite tradition which is strengthened by names of various locations in Kashmir resembling names in theland of Israel, such as Pisgah, Cheshbon, Mount Nebo, ad Beit Peor. This isalso true of names of people and of sects. In order to celebrate a holiday called “Baska” in the spring, they adjust the lunar calendar to the solar calendar by adding days to the lunar calendar. Some books have been published on this subject. The people resemble Jews , and many Hebrew words can be found in the Urdu language of Kashmir. Their history contains the curious fact that in the 12 th century only Jews were allowed into Kashmir.
For further testimonies the following books are recommended.
“The banished of Israel” ( By Yitzhak Ben Tzvi – Fromer President of Israel.
“New light on Zion”. (By Mr Avraham Zonenshein)
“Rabbi Eliyahu Avichail” ( Rechov Epstein « 3B – Jerusalem, Israel 96555)