A New Exhibit Brings the Samaritan Past and Present to Life

Sept. 21 2022

To Christians, the word “Samaritan” evokes the famous parable in the gospel of Luke—and has thus given its name to the “Good Samaritan” laws that exist in all 50 states, not to mention a recent movie starring Sylvester Stallone. To learned Jews, Samaritans are a quasi-Jewish group mentioned in the latter books of the Bible and in the Talmud who had an often-adversarial relationship with ancient Jews. At present, there are nearly 800 Samaritans in Israel, where their ancestors have lived since the 5th century BCE. Menachem Wecker describes the new exhibit on their history at the Museum of the Bible.

The Museum of the Bible exhibit, which includes artifacts spanning from the 2nd century before the Common Era to contemporary paintings made in the past couple of years, notes that Samaritans, who are mentioned in both Jewish and Islamic texts, have often clashed with both.

One wall text tells of the 16th-century Huguenot Hebraist Joseph Scaliger, who requested texts from an Egyptian Samaritan community, only to have those texts lost in a shipwreck. They were recovered, sparking further Christian interest in Samaritans.

Another vitrine contains the custom typewriter that Rabbi Moses Gaster (1856–1939) used to correspond with Samaritans living in Nablus, at the base of Mount Gerizim, [which is the site of their temple]. When he typed in Jewish Hebrew letters, the text was printed in Samaritan Hebrew letters. His pen pal, Jacob, son of Aaron, the [Samaritan] high priest, “saw an opportunity to harness Gaster’s academic platform and reputation to amplify Samaritan culture,” the wall text states.

The show highlights many Samaritan religious practices, which often resemble Jewish ones. Samaritans sacrifice paschal lambs annually, drawing many outside spectators. It is the only monotheistic group that still sacrifices animals, according to the documentary.

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Read more at Religion News Service

More about: Hebrew Bible, Museum of the Bible, New Testament, Samaritans

Iran’s Responsibility for West Bank Terror

On Friday, a Palestinian stabbed an Israeli police officer and was then shot by another officer after trying to grab his rifle. Commenting on the many similar instances of West Bank-based terror during the past several months, Amit Saar, a senior IDF intelligence officer, predicted that the violence will likely grow worse in the coming year. Yoni Ben Menachem explains the Islamic Republic’s role in fueling this wave of terrorism:

The escape of six terrorists from Gilboa prison in September 2021 was the catalyst for the establishment of new terrorist groups in the northern West Bank, according to senior Islamic Jihad officials. The initiative to establish new armed groups was undertaken by Palestinian Islamic Jihad in coordination with Iran’s Revolutionary Guards, implementing the strategy of Qassem Suleimani—the commander of the Quds Force of the Revolutionary Guards who was assassinated in Iraq by the U.S.—of using proxies to achieve the goals of expansion of the Iranian regime.

After arming Hamas and Islamic Jihad in Gaza, Iran moved in the last year to support the new terrorist groups in the northern West Bank. Iran has been pouring money into the Islamic Jihad organization, which began to establish new armed groups under the name of “Battalions,” which also include terrorists from other organizations such as Fatah, Hamas, and the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine. First, the “Jenin Battalion” was established in the city of Jenin, followed the “Nablus Battalion.”

Despite large-scale arrest operation by the IDF and the Shin Bet in the West Bank, Islamic Jihad continues to form new terrorist groups, including the “Tulkarem Battalion,” the “Tubas Battalion,” and the “Balata Battalion” in the Balata refugee camp.

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Read more at Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs

More about: Iran, Israeli Security, Palestinian terror, West Bank