The Samaritans are the world’s only holders of Israeli-Palestinian dual nationality and they are at a turning point in their history. Only 800 remain. Torn between settlements in Tel Aviv and Nablus in the West Bank, their dwindling community during the Roman Empire once numbered more than a million. Samaritans were victims of persecution and forced conversions to Christianity and Islam over their history, and their numbers collapsed after the fall of the Ottoman Empire.
When the Israelites abandoned the Holy Land and were lost in the desert, the Samaritans remained. When the Jews returned, the Samaritan’s beliefs were no longer aligned and were in disagreement with other Israeli Jews over religious texts.
The Samaritans have the highest rate of consanguinity and have paid a price for their isolation. For the first time, they are seeking foreign wives. There is no rite of conversion in the Samaritan religion so women, primarily Jewish Ukranians, can become immediate members of the community.
Meanwhile, dual Israeli-Palestinian nationality allows Samaritans to affirm their neutrality while working to take on a new potential role as mediators in Israel.
Director Julien Menanteau was invited by the French Institute in Nablus this past summer to present the film to both Samaritans and Palestinians in Nablus. The film has been selected by Les Escales Documentaires in La Rochelle (November) a French festival, and by the Jewish Film Festival in Jerusalem (December) in the Interfaith section.
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