Karaite ("Son of the Bible," in Hebrew)

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KARAITE ("Son of the Bible," in Hebrew)

A Jew who rejected the oral tradition and rabbinical law, recognizing only a literal interpretation of the texts of the Bible. This religious sect, founded in eighth-century Iraq by Anan Ben David and Yacub Abu Yussef al-Kirkichani, who contested the oral law codified in the Mishna and the Talmud, existed in perfect harmony with the Muslims. In the early twenty-first century, there are about 30,000 Karaites, approximately 9,000 of which are in Israel, mainly settled at Ramla, Beersheba, and Ashod. The Jewish status of Karaites is ambiguous. In Israel, Karaites have the option of holding identity cards that label them either as "Karaite" or "Karaite-Jew."

SEE ALSO Mishna;Talmud.