Sunday, April 20, 2008


"The Samaritans claim that they are the remnant of an ancient people, descended from the Kingdom of Israel. A genetic study (Shen, et al., 2004) concluded from Y-chromosome analysis that Samaritans descend from the Israelites (including Cohen, or priests). Samaritans claim that their worship is the true religion of the ancient Israelites, predating the Jewish Temple in Jerusalem, but Samaritanism has historically been rejected by normative Judaism.

"The split between Samaritans and Jews is dated back to the period of the second Temple. The Samaritans didn't go as captives to Babylonia, so when the Jews returned to Eretz Yisrael they didn't accept the Samaritans as part of the Jewish Nation, so they went to Mount Gerizim and built their Temple.  They kept their faith, even with forced conversion from the Arabs and the Christians. Today they number just under 650, divided about equally between their modern homes on their sacred Mount Gerizim, and the Israeli town of Holon, just outside of Tel Aviv.
"Relations with the surrounding Jews and Palestinians have been mixed. In 1954, Israeli President Yitzhak Ben-Zvi created the Samaritan enclave in Holon but Israeli Samaritans today complain of being treated as "pagans and strangers" by orthodox Jews. Those living in Israel have Israeli citizenship. Samaritans in the Palestinian territories are a recognized minority and they send one representative to the Palestinian parliament. Palestinian Samaritans have been granted passports by both Israel and the Palestinian Authority.

"They mantain the Hebrew language and they are guided by 4 principles of faith: one God, who is the God of Israel; one prophet, Moses son of Amram; one holy book, the Pentateuch - the Torah handed down by Moses; one holy place, Mount Gerizim. To these is added the belief in the Taheb son of Joseph, prophet like Moses, who will appear on the Day of Vengeance and Recompense in the latter days. Because of this they only have the traditions mentioned in the Torah, and their leaders kept them in a very tight orthodox way."

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