Answers to Quora Questions by Yair Davidiy (1 November 2017, 12 Heshbon, 5778)
Since Samaritans also descend from ancient Israelites, as do Jews, do Israeli Jews believe that they should get self-determination in a free Samaritan state?
The present-day Samaritans today are few in number. Wikipedia says that of January 1, 2017 there were less than 800 of them. There could be more but not that many.
Â At all events there are not enough of them to form a municipality let alone a state. They are also not Jewish and not Hebrew but in their own category.Â
Â Since the 1920s they have allowed themselves to marry Jewish women and it may be that many of them through their mothers are now Jewish or could claim to be so from the matrilineal point of view.
Â Apart from that, they are not of Israelite descent.Â
Â The Samaritans are descended from foreigners whom the Assyrians brought into Israel to replace the Ten Tribes who had been exiled.
Â 24 Then the king of Assyria brought people from Babylon, Cuthah, Ava, Hamath, and from Sepharvaim, and placed them in the cities of Samaria instead of the children of Israel; and they took possession of Samaria and dwelt in its cities.
Due to a plague of lions attacking villagers they adopted some aspects of the Hebrew faith.
Â 25 And it was so, at the beginning of their dwelling there, that they did not fear the LORD; therefore the LORD sent lions among them, which killed some of them. 26 So they spoke to the king of Assyria, saying, "The nations whom you have removed and placed in the cities of Samaria do not know the rituals of the God of the land; therefore He has sent lions among them, and indeed, they are killing them because they do not know the rituals of the God of the land." 27 Then the king of Assyria commanded, saying, "Send there one of the priests whom you brought from there; let him go and dwell there, and let him teach them the rituals of the God of the land." 28 Then one of the priests whom they had carried away from Samaria came and dwelt in Bethel, and taught them how they should fear the LORD.
Together with this they kept their heathen traditions (2-Kings 17:24). There were periods when they drew closer to Judaism. They accepted parts of the written law but rejected Oral Tradition. At one stage they were accorded a kind of intermediate status in the eyes of the Jews but when its was discovered that some of them were still worshiping idols this was rescinded. There were once millions of them. They may have been instrumental in the rise of Christianity. Many of the Muslim inhabitants of Schechem in Israel and of Damascus in Syria may be descended from them. This may explain why the Muslims around Damascus tend to support Assad even though Assad is an Alawi and strictly speaking not really a Muslim. The Samaritans were also scattered to other areas including Africa.