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Most of the 20 percent who are not Jewish are Arab. Previously, biblical Hebrew had been the language of prayer, whereas the vernacular of most Jews was Yiddish (Ladino for Spanish and Portuguese Jews).David Ben-Gurion's vision of a national language, which would allow Jews from different parts of the world to communicate with each other, was an important element of the Zionist movement.In 160 Judas Maccabee led a rebellion that allowed the Jews to reclaim Jerusalem, a victory that Jews still celebrate in the festival of Hanukkah.Judah became an independent state in 141 The Temple was destroyed, and the majority of the Jews were dispersed throughout the world.The Israelites were slaves in Egypt from about 1750 to , when Moses led the Jewish people in Exodus. Moses died, and Joshua took the helm and led the people into the land of Canaan, or the Promised Land.The epoch that followed was known as the period of the judges, when Israel was ruled by judges and priests.The British used a 1920 mandate from the League of Nations as license to rule the area for the ensuing decades, during which time they kept control by feeding the animosity between Palestinian Arabs and Jewish settlers.
The song was banned from the airwaves during the British mandate, and it continues to be somewhat controversial today; there has been some debate as to whether its Zionist message is still valid. There is archaeological evidence of settlements in Israel dating from nine thousand to eleven thousand years ago.
In 721 Israel was conquered by Assyria, and in 586 it was taken over by Babylonia.
The city of Jerusalem was destroyed, and the Jews were exiled to Babylon.
In 638 Arab Muslims conquered Jerusalem, where their rule lasted until the Turkish conquest in 1078. In 1187 Saladin, the Kurdish ruler of Egypt, conquered Jerusalem.
In 1516 the land of Israel, known at this time as Palestine, was taken over by the Ottoman Turks, who ruled for four hundred years.
According to the Bible, Israel is the name given by God to Jacob.