The Samaritans comprises a small ethnic and religious group (about 820 persons in total).
They live in the Neve Pinchas quarter of the Israeli city of Kholon, and in the village of Kiryat Luza on the West coast of the Jordan River.
The word Samaritan means Kuthan (the immigrants from the city of Kutha in Mesopotamia) translated from the Hebrew.
The Samaritans speak Hebrew and the Samaritans of Shechem also know Arabic.
The religion of the Samaritans is a version of pre-prophetic Judaism. Their Holy Writ is the Samaritan Pentateuch.
The Samaritans consider themselves to be the natives of the Kingdom of Israel and the direct descendants of Joseph’s generation which were divided into those of Ephraim and Manasseh (Menashe).
The group and the territory were called Samaria after the last capital of the Kingdom of Israel, the founder of which was King Amri (Omri). Later the capital was ruined by the state of Assyria. The Hebrews consider the Samaritans to be a generation of Gutians who were relocated to the territory of the former Kingdom of Israel and later adopted Judaism.
Since the ancient times the Jews of the North and South of Canaan were very different, but after the Jews returned from Babylonian Captivity, these differences turned into a feud.
When Judea was conquered by Alexander the Great, the Samaritans, led by Sanballat, built a temple on Mount Gerizim which was ransacked two centuries later by the Hasmonean king, John Hyrcanus I. In the year 56 BC, as a result of Roman administrative reform, the Samaritans were granted autonomy.
The Samaritan communities began appearing beyond Samaria as well (in Beit She’an, Caesaria, Emmais, Jaffa, Yavne, etc.) after the ruination of the Second Temple of Jerusalem.
In the V-VI centuries, as a result of revolts for independence from Byzantium, the Samaritans managed to elevate their kings to the throne twice, but not for long: they were overthrown after the suppression of the disturbances.
By 1917 there were just 146 Samaritans in total. Such a shortage took place because many adopted Islam. In 1954 all the Samaritans of Israel, except for those living in Shechem (modern Nablus), were moved to Kholon.
Now the Law of Return covers the Samaritans. According to it, they all are citizens of Israel and may move there.
Earlier the Samaritans could only marry members of their own community. Currently the marriages with Jewish, Karaite and Christian women who underwent the conversion ceremony are permitted.
Referenced to the Samaritans
The Parable of the Good Samaritan. This is one of the parables of Jesus Christ telling about qualities of the Samaritans such as mercy and benevolence towards a person in trouble.
The New Covenant also mentioned the Woman of Samaria whom Jesus asked for water. It was she who told the people of that land (Samaria and Sychar) and about Him serving as the Messiah.
The residents of Samaria are mentioned in the story of Musa (Moses) and the Golden Calf. It was a Samaritan who made the calf the figure of worship of the people. When Musa returned to the people and exposed the fraudulent intent, the Samaritan was banished.
The Samaritan community is a civilization of great rarity. Its development was limited by despotism and persecution. But, despite its small size, it showed surprising flexibility and persistence. The history of the Samaritans could have ended in disaster more than once, but they survived many setbacks without being discouraged.