RAMALLAH, July 3 (JMCC) - A small religious group living in the Nablus hills has become the latest go-to for Palestinians trying to divine their future, reports the
Using astrology and numerology that they say dates back thousands of years, Samaritan priests try to solve the problems of those who come to visit them.
Palestinians go to the Samaritans' booths along the avenue or to their homes on nearby Mount Gerizim hoping to find answers to their most pressing problems.
The Samaritans claim to be the true children of Israel who left Egypt with Moses and consider themselves the guardians of the authentic Mosaic tradition. They say it is the Jews who over time diluted the religion revealed by Moses.
Some 750 Samaritans live in the Holy Land, around half in the Israeli city of Holon near Tel Aviv, while the remainder reside on Mount Gerizim, which they consider a sacred place.
Hosni al-Samir, a 67-year-old Samaritan priest, says his people have been studying the stars for millennia.
We have inherited astrology books for thousands of years, he told AFP. The most recent one we use goes back almost 450 years.
The practice is restricted to the priestly class, which represents about a third of the total community, he says, adding that the use of astrology and numerology should not be confused with witchcraft or parlour tricks.