Boxes of Ancestry.com DNA kits sit in a box ready for sale at the 2019 RootsTech annual genealogical event in Salt Lake City, Utah, U.S., February 28, 2019.
(photo credit: REUTERS/GEORGE FREY)
If you live in Israel and want to find out where your family comes from, what do you do? One thing is for certain, an ancestry kit from the local pharmacy is out of the question, according to a Yediot Aharonot report.
While millions of such kits have been sold in the United States, Israelis are forbidden to buy ancestry DNA kits from the store without presenting a court order, as the Israeli government controls these types of purchases due to the "Genetic Information Law."
"By law genetic information/genetic testing may require obtaining explanations from a doctor and informed consent to perform the test, and should be checked only in the laboratory by a genetic institute recognized and licensed. Such a thing can not exist kits sold directly to the public," the Ministry of Health told Israeli publication Yediot Aharonot
. "Such kits are also highly criticized, for their reliability, for the interpretation of their results, and for possible effects on subjects and their families."
The court order can be issued after thoroughly examining reasoning behind the test as well as overseeing the process is done corrected in a licensed fashion, by rule of law. The government uses these measures to protect the public so that insurance companies, private parties, et cetera won't misuse the private information for personal gain, as well as the national implications these tests could hold or affect with Israel being a government recognized Jewish-state.
"I tried to get [the ancestry kit] in Israel, but I couldn't, I tried to send it to Israel and it didn't work, so on my trip to New York I just went to the drug store and bought it." Roi Latka told Yediot Aharonot
Ancestry kits are meant to help you fully understand your family genealogy - your ethnic background, family origin, family records and can even help you find ancestors you never knew you had, which can help you answer a lot of questions or give you a million more. After sending in a few DNA swabs to a commercial lab for testing, your results will normally return to you within 6-8 weeks.
According to some ancestry websites there are even indicators to tell you if you possess "Jewish" DNA or not, even going as far to distinguish if you possess Ashkenazi or Ethiopian Jewish DNA among other categories.
There are a number of videos that can be found on YouTube displaying reactions from consumers of these kits once their ancestry information is revealed - including one in which an Egyptian-Palestinian figured out that she had Jewish DNA, possibly showing the two cultures are closer in ancestry than they believe.
However, with this luxury unavailable in Israel, where even Israeli manufacturers of this DNA test are unable to sell their product within their own country - Israelis have to look elsewhere to join in on this growing consumer trend.
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