Do you think that Israelis are the descendants of the biblical Israelites? It’s a simple but provocative prompt — one which the videographer and man-on-the street interviewer Corey Gil-Shuster recently put to half a dozen Israelis.
Gil-Shuster, the man behind the “Ask Project,” interviewed an anti-Zionist Hasid, a woman from a West Bank settlement and a self-described atheist and uploaded their responses to YouTube last month. Their answers varied widely.
Gil-Shuster clarified in one interview that he was asking “genetically,” and also asked why it was that Jews from different parts of the world varied in appearance. “There was some fringe mixing but in general we are all descendants of the Israelites,” one woman said. “We can’t really tell,” another man said. “Because we don’t have DNA from an Israelite who died 2000 years ago.”
Another speaker said he had clear documentation of his own heritage.
“Look, in my family we have from Abraham our father all the way to me,” a Hasidic man said. “I have it written out.”
Gil-Shuster started conducting his series of street interviews to “show what average Israelis and Palestinians think about various issues.” Past prompts — also on controversial topics — have included “Should Israel annex the West Bank?” “What do you think of atheists?” and “Who is Jesus to you?”