The Museum of the Bible in Washington DC has opened a major exhibition dedicated to the Samaritans.
It explains how these people from the Bible still exist as micro communities in Israel and the West Bank.
Current numbers are estimated to be around 850 people.
According to the texts on display, the Samaritans once comprised one million members who endured great persecution.
The exhibition reveals how they interacted with Muslims, Jews and Christians.
It features an ancient stone inscription from the medieval Samaritan synagogue in Kefar Kalil which was loaned by Israeli President Isaac Herzog and the Israel Antiquities Authority.
According to the museum, the Samaritan Hebrew inscription was published by Itzhak Ben-Zvi, a scholar of Samaritan history and the second president of Israel.
“This is a story that reflects the many voices that make up our social tapestry and the many textured layers of history that contribute to our collective human story here in the Holy Land,” President Herzog said of the exhibition.
“I’m grateful to the Museum of the Bible, to Yeshiva University Center for Israel Studies, and to the many able minds and hands that have come together to bring this exhibition to life and the story of this special community, the Samaritan community, to a broad public.”
Organisers told The Christian Post that the Samaritans are not Jews, but descendants from the Israelite tribes of Levi, Ephraim and Manasseh.
Samaritans keep the Sabbath and ritual purity laws while holding the Torah sacred.
Their scriptures are not the same as Jewish ones and religious leaders rule very differently to rabbis.
In recent years, Samaritan men have married Ukrainian women in a bid to continue their people’s existence.
The exhibition will run until the end of the year.