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Living as a Samaritan
By Osher Sassoni
Not ones many
of us, the members of the Samaritan community been asked about how is to
be a Samaritan ? to people outside the community the answer is clear -
It's hard, means no life. (Photo: Osher Sassoni)
One of the best
and wonderful things on the current Samaritan Society is the ability to
integrate a modern life inside a modern society , while a devout
preserving of an ancient tradition which is more than 3000 thousands year
old. Sometimes it looks like no matter how much will try to change it, it
will always look as we are a group of primitive followers. It is an
automat reaction of others , after introducing yourself as a religious ,
to put you in same group of other religious societies. The first thought
which they fancy in their mind is about sequestered tribe somewhere in the
desert, or in the less worse situation as a fanatic and primitive group
Many times in
their lives, The members of the community been asked on their behavior and
on their inapprehensible ability to preserve their ancient culture and
their religious lives deep inside the regular and the secular society in
Israel. To a strange visitor which will visit the Samaritan Neighborhood ,
it will be strange and inapprehensible to know that the place he is just
passing, is the neighborhood of an ancient remnant to an ancient kingdom,
one of those remnants of the 12 tribes of Israel, which till nowadays
preserving the Passover sacrifice and impurity laws, customs which
comprehensible today, as ancient and irrelevant , on this third
In Many other
ethnics groups which preserve a religious life, there is a clear septum
between the outside world which means the secular world, to their inside
world. Living in kind separated bubble. A religious lad from Bnei Brak
(city in Israel settled by mostly religious families) wont have a clue how
does a discotheque in Tel Aviv looks like or what is the new movie in
cinema. In this kind if conditions , while living in a separated world,
its not so hard to understand how they manage to keep their religious
life. They living, studding and even spending their spare time inside
their borders, but the life of the Samaritans are different. As they donít
have their own schools or own other institutes, they living inside the
secular society . while preserving their ancient religious life they
succeeding leaving modern life , meaning studding in a regular schools ,
working in secular places, speaking, dressing, and behaving as any other
teenagers . it will be very hard to notice a Samaritan inside any group.
The only change will be in holy days. Of course they also living in their
border of society , and of course they trying to keep modest in their
wearing and behaving, and finally of course they still keeping their
tradition , but they do it without being cut-off from the outside society,
but living inside her.
It is possible
to wonder a lot about this fact, and how it can be done in this world
which we are living, while our society draw a way from any connection to
the religion , but we the Samaritans, know the answer which concealed in
the strength of the intrinsic belief. We living a definite regular life,
which still let us preserving our unique tradition, and leaves for us
almost the same options as any one in this country . and, YES we should be
proud for that.
Fulfillment of the Rights and State of the Israelite Samaritans In Every Political Arrangement will be discussed by the Parliament of Israel
The upper rank of the Israeli Government and the right wing Likud Party in the Israeli Parliament ["The Knesset"] has arrived at the end of February 2005 to a wedding party of one of the
central active members of the party in the town of Holon, Israel, Mr. Me'ir Halabi.
An other central active member was there, Mr. Yefet b. Ratson Tsedaka, co-editor of "A.B. - The Samaritan News" and his wife Lilly. Yefet has utilized the opportunity to strengthen the links between the upper rank of the Government of Israel and the Israelite Samaritans in order to check their attitude towards ensuring the political future of the Israelite Samaritans in any future peace arrangement including securing the linkage between the community and sacred Mount Gerizim, the center of her life and history.
In 1996, after the victory of the Likud Party in the elections in Israel, came Mr. Ariel Sharon to Mount Gerizim to meet the late High Priest Yusef b. Ab-Hisda.)
The warm and courageous links between Prime Minister Ariel Sharon and the Samaritans have started in 1996, when Mr. Roni Sassoni, an active of the Likud Party and former secretary of the Samaritan Community in Holon has organized the visit of Mr. Sharon to meet the late High Priest Yusef b. Ab-Hisda[HP 1987-1998] and the Samaritans. It was a very excited meeting, which during it was not clear if Mr. Sharon would be Minister of the new government.
(Photo: The deputy High Priest, the Priest Aaron b. Ab-Hisda blesses MP Ruchama Avraham.)
Mr. Sharon has aroused then the enthusiasm of his Samaritan listeners with a strong speech and rewarded by the High Priest Yusef with a special Blessing of the High Priests and wish that soon he will be the Prime Minister of Israel. Since then Sharon never forgot the Samaritans and was
insisted to send them telegrams of blessings or condolences in every festive or sad event of the Israelite Samaritan People. In those letters he emphasized his warm feelings towards the Israelite Samaritans. That is why it was no wonder when recently Yefet has sited with Prime Minister Sharon and explained to him and to all upper rank of the Government and to the Parliament members as well the concern of the Israelite Samaritans that their rights will not be included in the future political arrangement between Israel and the Palestinians, Mr. Sharon was fast to declare calming words that moved the hearts of all personalities presented that have not hidden their surprise and enthusiasm.
Prime Minister Sharon has showed interest in the current state of the Israelite Samaritans in Mount Gerizim and in Holon and he declared clear fully that the Samaritans will never be forgotten in any future
political arrangement, We will always remember them in any political arrangement if it will be - Said Sharon.
Mr. Yefet b. Ratson Tsedaka has "picked up the glove" and asked Mr. Sharon: Could I see your declaration as signed completely by yourself? Mr. Sharon has replied the question promptly: Certainly yes. You are integral part of us. We will never forget you!
Declarations in the same words have been stated by the deputy Prime Minister the Minister Ehud Ulmert and the Minister of Foreign Affairs Mr. Sylvan Shalom that said to Mr. Sharon: You are right we will not forget the Samaritans. They are very important to us. Sharon has reminded the participants his visit to the Samaritans in 1996: The taste of the sheep that roasted that evening specially for me and my wife the
late Lilly never left my palate, he said to the voice of the loud laughs of all participants.
Parliament Member Ms. Ruchama Avraham has said: It is very important to keep the link of the Samaritans to Mount Gerizim that so vital to the continuation of the community existence. MP former Minister Uzi Landow has said: I am aware to the sensitiveness of the situation. If it would depended on me it would never been on the agenda. The two vice-chairmen of the Parliament Mr. Ayyub Karra and Moshe Kachlon have said that the Samaritans deserve every support and encouragement. MP Gidon Sa'ar, who centralizes the Likud Party in the Parliament has said: There is a secure wall to the Samaritans in this regard. The same words have been said by MP Michael Ratson. Prime Minister Sharon has concluded the discussion by saying: The Samaritans can consider me as their personal friend.
(Photo: Yefet b. Ratson Tsedaka, Co-Editor and Co-Director of A.B. - The Newspaper and the research Institute of Samaritan Studies meets Mr. Ariel Sharon, The Prime Minister of Israel)
Following this meeting Mr. Yefet b. Ratson Tsedaka has arranged series of meetings in the Parliament last week with Ministers and parliament senior members to push forwards a version of a new legal proposal to the current agenda deals with the political future of the Israelite Samaritans in any political arrangement between Israel and the Palestinians.
MP Inbal Gavrieli and vice-chairman of the Parliament MP Moshe Kachlon have drafted themselves to let a greater number of the MP's to back presenting the legal proposal to the current agenda, that written by the brothers Benyamim and Yefet b. Ratson Tsedaka, directors and editors of A.B. - the Institute and the Newspaper.
In regard to this proposal their are two different attitudes: The first presented by the Minister of Law Affairs Ms. Tzipi Livni and the chairman of the Law committee of the Parliament Mr. Michael Eitan that stated: It is better to conclude the contains of the proposal in the future peace agreement with the Palestinians as there is no any possibility to force the Israeli Law on the non Israeli territories that will be under the jurisdiction of the Palestinians.
The other attitude presented by the two vice-chairmen of the Parliament MP's Ayyub Karra and MosheKachlon that intend to make greater number of the Parliament members to present the proposal to the current agenda in order to force the Government of Israel to assist financially building autonomic centers of peace on Mount Gerizim. MP Moshe Kachlon has said: I will present the proposal with MP Ms. Inbal Gavrieli. It will be better to let Arab MP's sign on presenting the proposal as
well. Mp Ms. Inbal Gavrieli has said while preparing many copies of the proposal to distribute between the MP's: I will present the proposal with vice-Chairman of the Parliament Mr. Moshe Kachlon. I will run the issue and I will do my best to push the issue and make greater number of MP's approval to it. The religious continuation of this marvellous community is very important to me. I will be always happy to assist the
MP David Levi, former Minister in Governments of Israel thinks that it is an excellent idea. He has suggested to bring the subject to be discussed within the Likud Party and then inviting a delegation of the community to come and explain the proposal to all MP's of the Likud.
Here is the proposal's text:
A Legal Proposal to the Current Agenda:
Fulfillment of the Rights and State of the Israelite Samaritans In Every Political Arrangement and Establishing Mount Gerizim as Autonomic Center of Peace
The Israelite Samaritans numbered today [March 2005] about 700 individuals. 45% live in Kiryat Luza, the Samaritan Neighborhood near the peak of Gerizim Mountain in Samaria over Nablus and 55% live in their neighborhood in the City of Holon near Tel Aviv. This number is increased about 5 times than their number two-three generations ago. After drastic dwindling in their number from over 1,200,000 individuals in the 4th century A.D. to mare than 150 individuals in the year 1917. In the last generations their number is increasing constantly.
The Israelite Samaritans are the only remnant in the present of the Ancient Kingdom of Israel, sons of tribes Levi, Ephraim and Menashe. They are loyal to the God of Israel and to the Torah of Moses and Israel and consecrate it. Their only Prophet of all Prophets is Moses b. Amram and the center of their belief and life is Mount Gerizim over Shechem [Nablus in the present] in the heart of Samaria Region. They keep strictly the Shabbath and the laws of purity in the Torah, celebrating the seven holy days of the Torah and the Day of Independence, offering the Passover Sacrifice once a year on Mount Gerizim as it written in the Torah and calculating their times and festivals up to their special calendar. The Motto of their life is: "Mount Gerizim, The House of God - All along the days of our life".
Gerizim Mountain is a vital strategic property to secure regular movement in the region. Since the time of the British and the Jordanians till the present days, Israel too activates a constant military unit near its peak for inspection and security.
The Israelite Samaritans at all are Israeli citizens, that keeping in their pocket a blue Israeli I.D. with no exception. They are under the "Law of Return". They are Israelites, the Sons of the People of Israel. They enjoy full rights like every Israeli citizen, son of the Israelite People.
The Israelite Samaritans that live in Kiriat Luza, Gerizim Mountain, are recognized by the Palestinians as an integral part of them and have special consideration as holders of Jordanian passports from the Jordanian authorities during their visits in the areas of the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan.
The Presidents and Prime Ministers of Israel and Members of the Parliament have respected and still respect the Israelite Samaritans. They are considering them as greeted guests in their bureaus and respectfully welcomed in the Israelite Samaritan houses in Mount Gerizim and in Holon. The Palestinian authorities are fully respecting them and offered a safe special seat in their Parliament since 1996. The Jordanians considering them as Persona Grate.
The link between the Israelite Samaritans to their sacred Gerizim Mountain never ceased. Even in the period of separation between the two parts of the community in the years 1948-1967, the link between the Samaritans of the State of Israel and the Samaritans in Jordan was ensured in a special paragraph in the Cease Fire Agreement between Israel and Jordan that allowed them to pass to Mount
Gerizim Passover days and family unifications along the whole years. Since June 1967 there is unlimited pass of the Israelite Samaritans between Mount Gerizim and the Israeli areas. Since 1977 they pass freely to Jordanian areas and since 1995 to the areas held administratively by the
In the recent years the Israelite Samaritans came up with a new initiative to ensure their future - to be a Bridge of Peace, as a result of the fact that they are acceptable on all sides of the Middle East conflict, and to establish Mount Gerizim as an Autonomic Center of Peace. In this center they will develop their religious, social, economical and cultural life including ensuring free pass between the parts of the community in every political situation, The initiative has been welcomed nicely by the political centers of the American and British super powers in Washington D.C. and London and the center of the European Union in Brussels.
B. Therefore this proposal is presented to the agenda:
In every political arrangement between the Government of Israel to the Palestinians should be included a special paragraph that deal with ensuring the religious, social, economical and cultural rights of the Israelite Samaritans anywhere they are.
In every such an arrangement it should be ensured by special paragraph a free pass to the Israelite Samaritans, 365 days a year, in every political situation, to and from Mount Gerizim, and if it is necessary, by special passport will be issued and respected by all sides of the arrangement.
The Government of Israel will assist the Israelite Samaritans to found Mount
Gerizim an Autonomic Center of Peace that will be run and administrated by them.
The Mount Gerizim Peace Center will be open to every peace seeker in the world and specially in the Middle East and will contain buildings and various cultural means, that will be visited by the peace seekers. In the Mount Gerizim Peace Center will be arranged peace talks and understanding between sides in political or religious or social dispute or disagreement. For the enjoyment and study by the visitors they will be served by large library and museum with books and findings of peace and the ancient Israelite Samaritan heritage as well as the huge archaeological site that developed by the Government of Israel on the peak of Mount Gerizim.
In order to secure the living future existence of the Israelite Samaritans the Government of Israel will allocate financial resources to environmental development of Mount Gerizim and allocating additional areas in the Mountain for housing for the future generations of the Israelite Samaritans as well as maintenance of the centers of culture and peace and financing their cultural and development activities. As a preliminary estimation that should be checked seriously it costs $25 millions. This investment includes expanding of the area for housing, building the centers and activating them in the first year.
Since Mount Gerizim is a vital strategic property to all sides to secure peace in the region, the Government of Israel in coordination with all side partners to the arrangement will change the military base that exists on the East-North offshoot of Mount Gerizim [Tel ElRas] to a security center that in it a police force common to Israel, the Palestinians and other side partners to the arrangement will inspect and secure a regular administration of life of security and peace in the region to the Israelite Samaritans and their centers of peace and its many visitors.
Yefet b. Ratson Tsedaka
March 1, 2005
Holon 58 110
By Osher Sassoni
The name which God spell there is (as it is
pronounced in Hebrew) "Eheye Asher Eheyeh". There are a lot of
interpretations to that term. The technical translation will be "I will be
what ever I will be". This name according to a lot of ancient scholars
from different religions, has many secrets inside it. An interesting point
is for example, that the numerology of this name is 543 and the name Moses
MOSES = mem (40)+ shin (300)+Hey (5) =345
God Name- Alef (1)+Hey(5)+ Yut(10)+Hey ( 5)=21 *2= 42 ( appears two times
in the same name.) + Alef (1)+shin(300)+ Resh (200) =543.
Another name of god is El Shaday - Alef(1)+Lamed(30)+ Shin (300) +
Dalet(4) + Yut(10) = 345. The same number as Moses name . The numerology
of the name Shema which is written Yut (10) + hey(5) + Yut(10) + hey(5)
=26 which is the number of the generations from Adam, our forefather to
Moses the prophet.
A Passover Night on Gerizim,
Continuing from a the last Update
by Rev. James W. Bradsley, M.A. From
The Sunday At Home, A family magazine for Sabbath Reading, No. 1196.-
March 31, 1877
We examined with some interest the platform at the base of the western
wall, where are the pieces of the rock called by the Samaritans "The ten
stones," and beneath which lie, say they, the twelve stones which the
Israelites took out of the Jordan, and which they believe to have been
subsequently removed from Gilgal (Josh. iv. 19-24). One is astonished to
find an intelligent traveller like Mills writing: "It is not impossible
that the Gilgal stones are here, or even the ones written upon by Joshua."
No tradition seems to me more certain than that of the Samaritans. On the
occasion of a subsequent visit to Gerizim, on my return by Kurn Surtabeh
from the east of the Jordan, I visited the bare platform of rock to the
south-west of the great inclosure. This bare rock is the Samaritan "Holy
of Holies." My guide took off his shoes as we approached it. The
Samaritans believe that on this rock the ark rested after the Flood; that
there Abraham offered up Isaac; that this is the true Bethel where Jacob
had his vision, and that afterwards it was the site of the temple I
observed no ruins immediately near the rock, excepting that of a large
cistern almost filled up with debris. Dr. Robinson saw traces of former
walls, which might, he thinks, be the walls of the ancient temple. This
hardly seems likely, when we remember that this temple was in ruins at the
time of our Lord, and must have afforded a convenient quarry for the
erection of the various buildings to which we have just referred.
Josephus tells us that this temple was erected by Sanballat for his
son-in-law, Manasseh, the brother of Jaddua the High priest, who had been
driven from the altar at Jerusalem on account of his illegal marriage with
a foreigner. "Sanballat promised him, not only to preserve to him the
honour of his priesthood, but to procure for him the honour and dignity of
a High Priest.... He also told him further, that he would build for
him a temple like that at Jerusalem, upon Mt. Gerizim, which is the
highest of all mountains that are in Samaria" ("Ant., c. xi. viii.2). The
supposed site of this temple is to the Samaritans what the Kaaba of Mecca
is to the Moslem, and what the temple was to the devout Jew. It is their
Kibleh, towards which they always turn in prayer.
As we descended to our tents we received a message from Amram
the priest to say how pleased he would be to see us. We found him, though
much shorter in stature than Yakub, a fine venerable-looking old man, with
a white flowing beard, who impressed us with the simplicity and apparent
sincerity of his character. He introduced us to his nephew as his future
successor in the priesthood. There were two or three women in the tent,
but they remained quietly seated on the divan. Two of them were Amram's
wives; the third, I believe, the wife of his nephew. The usual
compliments, repeated over and over again after the Eastern fashion,
opened the conversation. "Blesses be thy presence." "And yours." "How is
your health?" "It is well; and thine?" "Also well; and you are well? etc.
I wish that the space of this article allowed me to recall all the
interesting conversation that followed. Amram's great trouble seemed the
marriage question- the difficulty of getting wives for the men of the
community, as they do not intermarry with strangers. F---- told him what
the men of Benjamin did at Shiloh under similar circumstances and advised
him to think over the plan. The old man seemed much amused at the
See the next issue for the continuation of