Homes in Samaria - the new American dream?
Photo: Zvika Tishler
Will US Christians settle in Samaria? About 1,000 Americans have signed a document requesting to convert to Judaism, move to Israel, and settle in Samaria.
The group members are seeking to serve in the IDF and later establish communities based on the Kibbutz movement model.
The document was presented to Yisrael Beiteinu Knesset Member Lia Shemtov, who met with the group's representative last week and promised to offer her help in facilitating the initiative.
Destination: Samaria (Photo: AP)
The Christian group's representative, Baruch Avrahamovich, said he was hopeful that MK Shemtov would be able to elicit the government's support for the initiative.
Ironically, the venture received a boost through the help of priests at some 70 different churches in the US, who last summer urged their followers to boycott Avrahamovich and his new community. The broad media coverage attracted many new participants to the initiative.
The Christian group seeks to purchase land in Samaria, and Avrahamovich says that in Missouri alone a community of some 400 people is already keeping the Shabbat.
"They manage collective kibbutz life and aspire to create such community in Samaria, or in any area that would like to absorb people who truly love Israel and the Jewish religion," he said.
MK Shemtov expressed her support for the idea, noting that "bringing hundreds of educated, established people to Israel will help in developing Samaria and reinforcing it as an inseparable part of the State of Israel. We are dealing with people who wish to undergo Orthodox conversion, contribute to the economy, and even to serve in the IDF."
Officials at the Samaria Regional council confirmed that they were approached about the initiative, but noted that according to the Law of Return, only Jews can move to Israel and receive citizenship.
"If families from this group undergo proper conversion and move to Israel in line with the Law of Return, we'll of course be happy to welcome them in Samaria," one official said.
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