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For over 3,600 years, the ancient community of Samaritans have only intermarried. Today they number only a few hundred and inbreeding has caused serious problems. On the brink of extinction, their leaders take the unprecedented step of allowing two lucky men to marry foreigners. We follow them as they set off to faraway lands in search of brides. How will their new wives adapt to life in the Samaritan community?
Surrounded by old men chanting prayers and children dressed in traditional robes, Shura looks completely out of place. She smoothes down her scarlet dress and looks around the room at her new family. A few months ago, Shura was signed up by a matchmaking agency in Ukraine. Now, she has just married into the Samaritans First Family.
What I did should have happened a long time ago, states Shuras husband, Yair. I have two brothers who are mute, two others died and two of my uncles are also mute. Yair repeatedly asked the High Priest for permission to marry a foreigner. But every time, the answer was No. You must marry a Samaritan. Finally, he persuaded them to overturn the centuries old edict and; bring in a new era so that the Samaritan nation becomes stronger and bears good, healthy children. Then, he flew to Ukraine to find a wife.
When I saw pictures of Israel in the magazines, it looked so nice. I dreamed of moving there, recalls Shura. But moving to the Samaritan community in Israel was a real culture shock. All those soldiers. It looked just like a war zone. The first few months were the hardest. There are lots of times when I dont think I will be able to make it, she confides. I am alone here. I dont know anything about their bible and I dont even speak the language.
With her husbands support, Shura manages to last the first six months. But Yair is nervous about what will happen after she returns home. Im afraid that after Shura sees her friends and parents, shell say its better to live there and not here, he confides. I cant sleep at night thinking about it. As the wife of the High Priests grandson, Shura is in a unique position. As Yair explains; She belongs to the first family of the nation. Everything is riding on their marriage being a success.
Others are worried that Yairs marriage will set a dangerous precedent. When we adopt foreign women into our nation, it makes me afraid for the future, states one priest. Im afraid we wont be able to control them. He worries that diluting the blood will invariably lead to a dilution of their unique traditions and result in chaos.
Sure enough, other men start looking outside their community for wives. I had the chance to be with a Samaritan girl but I couldnt find the girl of my dreams among them, states Ranjaiy, Hes fallen in love with a Russian woman called Lena and wants to marry her. However, unlike Yair, he would consider leaving the Samaritans to be with her. Fortunately, for now, Lena seems happy to become a new Samaritan. As she explains; Being a member of such a very small group is an honour.
Director:Alexander Shabataev, Sergey Grankin & Efim Kuchuk