In addition to issues with census methodology, disputes among proponents of halakhic, secular, political, and ancestral identification factors regarding who is a Jew may affect the figure considerably depending on the source.
Israel is the only country where Jews form a majority of the population.
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Some consider that these Canaanite sedentary Israelites melded with incoming nomadic groups known as 'Hebrews'.
the experience of diaspora life, from the Ancient Egyptian rule over the Levant, to Assyrian Captivity and Exile, to Babylonian Captivity and Exile, to Seleucid Imperial rule, to the Roman occupation and Exile, and the historical relations between Jews and their homeland thereafter, became a major feature of Jewish history, identity and memory.
In a sentence such as There are now several Jews on the council, which is unobjectionable, the substitution of a circumlocution like Jewish people or persons of Jewish background may in itself cause offense for seeming to imply that Jew has a negative connotation when used as a noun.
A factual reconstruction for the origin of the Jews is a difficult and complex endeavor.
The ethnic stock to which Jews originally trace their ancestry was a confederation of Iron Age semitic-speaking tribes known as the Israelites that inhabited a part of Canaan during the tribal and monarchic periods.
According to the Hebrew Bible narrative, Jewish ancestry is traced back to the Biblical patriarchs such as Abraham, his son Isaac, Isaac's son Jacob, and the Biblical matriarchs Sarah, Rebecca, Leah, and Rachel, who lived in Canaan.
The patriarchs' descendants were later enslaved until the Exodus led by Moses, after which the Israelites conquered Canaan under Moses' successor Joshua, went through the period of the Biblical judges after the death of Joshua, then through the mediation of Samuel became subject to a king, Saul, who was succeeded by David and then Solomon, after whom the United Monarchy ended and was split into a separate Kingdom of Israel and a Kingdom of Judah.
The Kingdom of Judah is described as comprising the Tribe of Judah, the Tribe of Benjamin, and partially the Tribe of Levi, and later adding other tribes who migrated there from the Kingdom of Israel.
The Twelve Tribes are described as descending from the twelve sons of Jacob.
Jacob and his family migrated to Ancient Egypt after being invited to live with Jacob's son Joseph by the Pharaoh himself.
as Judaism is the traditional faith of the Jewish people while its observance varies from strict observance to complete nonobservance.