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Official Holiday in Palestine before 1948 (Nakba), British Mandate: A Survey of Palestine: Volume II - Page 927. Chapter XXII: Community And Religious Affairs: Section 7
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Posted on October 28, 2007
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British Mandate: A Survey of Palestine
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Posted by Webmaster on June 15, 2013 #151231


113. The Samaritans are the only distinct representatives of ancient Israel in Palestine. They still cling to their ancient beliefs and practices and to their Passover sacrifices on Mount Gerizim. Of the Old Testament they accept 'only the Pentateuch, which they preserve in an ancient Aramaic version (Targum). They keep the Sabbath very strictly, but do not use phylacteries, fringes, or the written 'inscriptions on the lintel' (mezuzoth). Their language is a dialect of Palestinian Aramaic, and their writing is an archaic alphabet derived from the Old Hebrew. For the ordinary purposes of everybody life, however, they use the Arabic language. They are reduced to a very small and poor community the majority of whom, including the High Priest, live at Nablus. In 1922 they consisted of 132 persons in Nablus, 13 in Tulkarm and 12 in Jaffa; to-day there are 199 Samaritans in Nablus and 68 in Jaffa.

114. The Metawileh community are said by some to trace their origin to a Companion of the Prophet, Abu Darr Ghifari, who is alleged to have first taught his doctrines in the villages of Sarafand and Meis in southern Syria. Others regard the Metawileh as immigrants from Persia who entered Syria and Palestine during one of the Persian invasions. Their religion is a form of the Shiah division of Islam, and they still maintain contact with the shrine of Kerbela in 'Iraq. Most of the Metawileh dwell in Syria, where, in the eighteenth century, they were a powerful political force. In Palestine they number about 4,600, mostly inhabitants of villages in the Acre and Safad sub-districts close to the Lebanese border.

Section 7.


115. By the terms of Article 15 of the Mandate the mandatory is required to "see that complete freedom of conscience and the free exercise of all forms of worship, subject only to the maintenance of public order and morals, are ensured to all". This direction is reproduced as follows in Article 83 of the Palestine Order in Council, 1922 :- "All persons in Palestine shall enjoy full liberty of conscience, and the free exercise of their forms of worship subject only to the maintenance of public order and morals''. Article 23 of the Mandate requires that "the Administration of Palestine shall recognise the holy days of the respective communities in Palestine as legal days of rest for the members of such communities''. In fulfilment of these obligations the Palestine