Discovering a Biblical People

At the end of this month, Yeshiva University’s Museum at the Center for Israel Studies will be unveiling an exhibit on the Samaritans, marking “the first time that important Samaritan artifacts preserved in museums and libraries worldwide—including paintings, manuscripts, priceless books, photography, ritual objects, and archaeological discoveries from Greece, Italy, and Israel—have been compiled.” JNS reports:

The Samaritans have been around for thousands of years, tracing their lineage to the “lost” northern tribes of Israel and living alongside Jews, Christians, and Muslims for centuries.

Yet this ancient group remains a mystery, which . . . an international team of scholars, historians, artists and Yeshiva University students have spent the last six years unraveling.

Central to the project is a documentary by the cultural historian and author Moshe Alafi called The Samaritans: A Biblical People, which will get its first public viewing at the launch event. A cookbook, called Samaritan Cookbook: A Culinary Odyssey from the Ancient Israelites to the Modern Mediterranean—the first-ever cookbook of Samaritan cuisine in English—will also be featured, along with a pop-up art exhibition created specifically for this project by the New York-based non-profit Jewish Art Salon.

Read more at JNS

More about: Archaeology, Samaritans

An American Withdrawal from Iraq Would Hand Another Victory to Iran

Since October 7, the powerful network of Iran-backed militias in Iraq have carried out 120 attacks on U.S. forces stationed in the country. In the previous year, there were dozens of such attacks. The recent escalation has led some in the U.S. to press for the withdrawal of these forces, whose stated purpose in the country is to stamp out the remnants of Islamic State and to prevent the group’s resurgence. William Roberts explains why doing so would be a mistake:

American withdrawal from Iraq would cement Iran’s influence and jeopardize our substantial investment into the stabilization of Iraq and the wider region, threatening U.S. national security. Critics of the U.S. military presence argue that [it] risks a regional escalation in the ongoing conflict between Israel and Iran. However, in the long term, the U.S. military has provided critical assistance to Iraq’s security forces while preventing the escalation of other regional conflicts, such as clashes between Turkey and Kurdish groups in northern Iraq and Syria.

Ultimately, the only path forward to preserve a democratic, pluralistic, and sovereign Iraq is through engagement with the international community, especially the United States. Resisting Iran’s takeover will require the U.S. to draw international attention to the democratic backsliding in the country and to be present and engage continuously with Iraqi civil society in military and non-military matters. Surrendering Iraq to Iran’s agents would not only squander our substantial investment in Iraq’s stability; it would greatly increase Iran’s capability to threaten American interests in the Levant through its influence in Iraq, Syria, and Lebanon.

Read more at Providence

More about: Iran, Iraq, U.S. Foreign policy