The Samaritans (yes...the same Samaritans as are referred to in the Bible), are (and have been, for some time) experiencing the same problems of inherited disorders and diseases...
...because of low population numbers, of the group as a whole (approximately 500 to 800 Samaritans now, depending on who is making the estimate), exacerbated by the ancient AND (until very recently) requirement that marriage should be within the group only.
Since 1948 (when Israel became a state), these problems among the Samaritans have increased...to the point where a major (and "revolutionary," by Samaritan standards) decision was made to open up the pool of available marriage partners to selected potential partners who are, or were, NOT Samaritan...
...specifically: brides from Ukraine.
A number of Ukrainian women (low numbers by outside standards...relatively huge numbers by Samaritan standards) have agreed to become Samaritan wives (they immigrate to Israel, to one of the two centers of Samaritan residence in (or directly adjacent to) Israel, they marry Samaritan grooms, and then become mothers of the next generation of Samaritan offspring.
So far, the experiment seems to be working fairly well---the Samaritans are getting a [relatively] significant infusion of new genes (which will definitely have the long-term effect of turning around the Samaritan inherited disease and disorder stats), and the Ukrainian women are getting brand new lives that would have been unimaginable to them (and to the Samaritans too!!!) only a fairly short time ago.
I don't know whether all or most of the Ukrainian women are Jews by descent, but all of them (just to meet Samaritan standards) probably have to convert, by Samaritan standards, prior to their marriages. (The Samaritans are an ancient, pre-"Jesus" era, breakaway group from the larger Jewish people...they virtually all have Jewish ancestors from all those centuries ago, but they have been a separate, and almost entirely closed (so far as marriage goes), group for at least the past two (plus) thousand years.)
Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 10/26/2016 06:10PM by Tevai.