The Samaritans: Strategies for Survival of an Ethno-religious Minority in the Twenty First Century
|The Samaritans: Strategies for Survival of an Ethno-religious Minority in the Twenty First Century
The research focuses on the two Samaritan communities of Neve Marqeh in Holon (a satellite town south of Tel Aviv) and Kiryat Luza on the Samaritan holy mountain Gerizim (adjacent to the Palestinian West Bank city of Nablus). The Samaritan population currently stands at 654 persons almost exclusively resident in the two communities. Samaritans themselves believe that their Mosaic religious tradition has an uninterrupted history of 3,600 years. They are very proud and protective of their faith and are steeped in religious learning from an early age - as is evidenced in several of the illustrations children are involved in as much of the ritual as possible. The sacred mountain is the location for several sites of archaeological and historic interest and the Samaritans have had a presence in the vicinity throughout their history.
The paper considers how the Samaritans maintain their distinctive ethnoreligious identity as a minority population straddling a Jewish Israeli and a Palestinian Arab Muslim dichotomy. Samaritan use of regulated change to historic practice in order to surmount such problems as male female ratio imbalance and political problems is considered. There is examination of how the society functions and the roles that its members play in the strategies for survival in the twenty first century.