Nadene GoldfootThe name "Samaria" derives from an ancient city of the same name, which was located near the south of Samaria, and was the capital of the Kingdom of Israel. Today it is remembered as Judea and Samaria which is now called "The West Bank." It's the area that the Palestinians want as part of their future state of Palestine.
My father's unique dna haplogroup, Q1b1a, making up 5% of the present Jewish population, pinpoints Persia as a possible location for our origins.
Assyrians had attacked Israel in 722 BCE, and thousands of Jews were deported from Israel and forced to settle in Media. Media was an Asiatic country and the people were called the Medes. They were thought to be the sons of Japheth. They cooperated with the Babylonians in the 6th century BCE but were defeated by Cyrus of Persia. Jews of Ashdod, Israel and Samaria (now called West Bank) had had a failed attempt against them. 27,290 Jews had to settle in Ecbatana (Hamadan), a town in Persia where Cyrus issued his decree permitting the Jews to rebuild their Jerusalem Temple, and Susa in SW Persia. They are referred to as one of the "Ten Lost Tribes of Israel in biblical records. This happened when the Assyrian king Tiglath-pileser III ruled. They were replaced in Samaria with Syrian and Babylonian prisoners. Assyrians were a Semitic people in a western Asian state. They had been most aggressive from the 20th century BCE on.
In 680 BCE The Assyrian king Nebuchadnezzar II persecuted Jews in Israel and many Jews were settled in Isfahan, Persia. Cyrus the Great had taken over Babylon and in 539 BCE, he entered Babylon. We were living by the River of Babylon and wanted to return to our homeland, Judea.
In the 6th Century BCE, Cyrus came up with the famous "Cyrus Declaration" allowing Jews to return to their homeland, Judea, to rebuild their lives. Not all were willing to trek out into the wilderness. Those that stayed became the Jews of Persia, or later, called Iran.
"In the first year of Cyrus king of Persia, in order to fulfill the word of The Lord spoken by Jeremiah, The Lord moved the heart of Cyrus king of Persia to make a proclamation throughout his realm and to put it in writing: "This is what Cyrus king of Persia says: "The Lord, The God of heaven, has given me all the kingdoms of the earth and He has appointed me to build a Temple [see Temples] for Him at Jerusalem in Judah. Anyone of his people among you - may his God be with him, and let him go up to Jerusalem in Judah and build The Temple of The Lord, The God of Israel, The God who is in Jerusalem." (Ezra 1:1-3)
King Darius I inherited the throne from Cyrus. He ruled from 522-486 BCE. King Ahashueros, Queen Esther's husband, is thought by modern scholarship to have been Xerxes, son of Darius I. He ruled from 486-465 BCE. Mordecai, Esther's uncle, was a Benjamite living in Shushan, Persia. His name is of Babylonian origin. It is found in inscriptions.
It is said that Queen Esther, the orphaned daughter of her mother, Abihail of the tribe of Benjamin, elected to remain with her uncle, Mordecai instead of leaving Persia. She is thought to be the mother of present day Iranian Jews. Not literally, of course, but as a part of the group of their ancestors.
Here is a timeline.
Israel crushed by Assyrians; 10 tribes exiled (Ten Lost Tribes).
Judah conquered by Babylonia; Jerusalem and First Temple destroyed; most Jews exiled.
Babylonia was taken over by the Persian Empire.
Besides Queen Esther being an ancestor of the Jews in Persia, Sushan Dukht of the 5th century BCE was also a Persian Queen. She was the daughter of the exilarch and had married King Yezdegerd I (399-420), and was the mother of Bahram V (420-38) and was said to be the founder of the Jewish settlement in Isfahan and Hamadan.
The New Standard Jewish Encyclopedia