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In the Torah, Ithamar (Hebrew: אִיתָמָר, Modern Itamar Tiberian ʼĪṯāmār ; "palm tree isle/coast";an ancient Hebrew expression for "the father of Tamar") is mentioned as the youngest son of Aaron the High Priest. After the death of his two eldest brothers Nadab and Abihu when they had been punished by the Lord for performing an unauthorized sacrificial offering, Ithamar served as a priest along with his elder brother, Eleazar. During the travels of the Israelites in the desert, Ithamar stood at the head of the children of Gershon and Merari, the carriers of the Tabernacle. He was also in charge of the work of the Levites in general. Ithamar and Eleazar are regarded as the direct male ancestors of all Kohanim.

According to Samaritan sources a civil War broke out between the Sons of Itamar {Eli} and the Sons of Phinehas{a son of Eleazar son of Aaron the High Priest}-which resulted in the division of those who followed Eli and those who followed High Priest Uzzi ben Bukki at Mount Gerizim Bethel {A third group followed neither}. Likewise according to Samaritan sources the high Priests line of the sons of Phineas died out in 1624 C.E. with the death of the 112th High Priest Shlomyah ben Pinhas when the priesthood was transferred to the sons of Itamar; see article Samaritan for list of High Priests from 1613 to 2004-the 131st High priest of the Samaritans is Elazar ben Tsedaka ben Yitzhaq

The burial site of Ithamar is associated with the Hill of Phinehas [1] as related in the Bible and is attributed with the location of the village of Awarta in the Samarian section of the current day West Bank. Due to the uncertain security situation, the Israel Defence Forces limits visits by Jews to one annual night close to the 5th of Shevat on the Hebrew calendar (around January-February).

Other people named Ithamar

The name Itamar is a masculine name quite common in Israel and has many variant forms: Ithamar, Ittamar, Idamar, Idemar and Ytamar. It was used as the baptismal name of the first Saxon holder of the bishopric of Rochester.