London, November 13 : As many as 8,000 Beduin tribesmen in northern Israel claim that they are related to U.S. President-elect Barack Obama by blood.
A spokesman for the tribe in Galilee claims that they have proof of their connection with Obama, though he has yet to reveal any documentary evidence.
"We knew about it years ago but we were afraid to talk about it because we didn't want to influence the election," Times Online quoted Abdul Rahman Sheikh Abdullah, a 53-year-old local council member, as telling the small Beduin village of Bir al-Maksour in the Israeli region of Galilee.
"We wrote a letter to him explaining the family connection," he said.
Though Obama's representatives have not replied to Sheikh Abdullah's letter, the latter is still in a mood to celebrate.
He has been handing out sweets and huge dishes of baklava traditional honey-sweetened pastries to all and sundry.
He is even contemplating organising a large party next week, which will see a dozen goats slaughtered to feed the village.
Sheikh Abdullah revealed that it was his 95-year-old mother who first spotted the connection, after seeing Obama on TV.
He said that his mother noted that Obama resembled one of the African migrant workers who used to be employed by rich sheikhs in the fertile north of British Mandate Palestine in the 1930s.
He said that the Africans would sometimes marry local Beduin girls and start families, but would frequently return home after several years.
According to him, one of such men was a relative of Barack Obama's Kenyan grandmother.
Sheikh Abdullah insisted that he was in possession of papers and pictures to back up his claim.
He, however, added that he had promised his mother not to divulge the papers and pictures until he had presented them to Obama, something he hoped would happen once his "relative" was in the White House.
"We want to send a delegation to congratulate him, and we know we'll get an answer soon," he said.