The Bible asserts that the Israelites and the residents of Tyre, Sidon, etc. formed a very close alliance during the reigns of Kings David and Solomon of Israel and King Hiram of Tyre (II Samuel 5:11, I Kings 5). The Israelites and the city-states of Tyre and Sidon formed an Empire which historians call the Phoenician Empire. They had a common navy and trade fleet (I Kings 9:26-27, 10:22) which brought trade goods from other continents. It is well-known that the Phoenicians founded colonies in Carthage, Spain, the British Isles, etc. When the Kingdom of Israel fell and its people went into exile, many chose to flee to the extensive network of Phoenician / Israelite colonies to avoid Assyrian captivity. The Hebrew name for the Israelite colony in Spain was “Iberia.” Iberia was named in honor of “Eber,” the namesake of all Hebrew offspring, and the European Peninsula containing Spain and Portugal is known as the “Iberian” Peninsula to this day. The British Isles were given their name by the Phoenicians based on the Hebrew word for “covenant” which has the consonants “B-R-T.” The ancient Israelite presence in Europe was so strong that the British Isles and the Iberian Peninsula preserve the ancient Israelite / Hebrew names for these geographical regions to this day (a fact understood by very few). When the kingdom of Israel fell, its colonists and refugees in Europe and the British Isles were later called “Celts.” The Celts who lived in the Iberian Peninsula were called Celtiberians.
In fact, it is no longer a question of, ‘Did Hebrews settle in Europe in ancient times?’ but only a question of, ‘How many of the people of Europe are of Hebrew descent?’ When considering the great numbers of early Israelites, and the Biblical promise of multitudinous seed (Gen. 26:4, 32:12; Ex. 32:13; Jer. 33:22, etc.), it is evident that the Hebrew-Celtic connection is very significant.
One last fascinating connection with ancient Israel is suggested by Sir John, who says, ‘the (Celtic) Kymry were for some time indifferently called Cambria or Cumbria, the Welsh word on which they are based being, as now written, Cymru… and is there pronounced nearly as an Englishman would treat it if spelled Kumry or KUMRI.’ As students of Old Testament history well know, ‘Kumri’ or ‘Khumri’ was the name of the Israelites in Assyrian texts. (see, ‘The March of Archaeology, by C.W Ceram, p. 216) The virtual identity in spelling and sound between the Israelite ‘Khumri’, and the Celtic ‘Kymry’, is too much of a coincidence to not have a relationship. Taken with the many other evidences, religious and cultural, the connection between the ancient Hebrews and Celts is too strong to be ignored.