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The BCE (Before Christ Existed) period
As a religion, Judaism appears the first time in a Greek record from the Hellenistic period (323 BCE – 31 BCE). The first mention of Israel appears is inscribed in Merneptah Stele, dated in 1213 – 1203 BCE.
In the period 1050 – 1000 BCE , Jerusalem was captured by David, the one who became the founder of the kingdom of Israel. Judah was the kingdom’s capital.
Few years before David’s invasion, the most important and sacred Jewish object, the Ark of the Covenant (the Ark of the Covenant was a portable shrine containing the Tablets of the Law that the prophet Moses received from God on the Sinai Mountain), was moved out of Jerusalem. Few years later, around 955 BCE, the Ark of the Covenant was moved back to Jerusalem.
Solomon, David’s son built the first temple in Jerusalem in 957 BCE but soon after, the king of Babylon, Nebuchadnezzar the 2nd, destroyed the temple and the Jewish people were moved into exile and all their treasures were stolen.
In 539 BCE, Babylon was conquered by Cyrus of Persia. Cyrus allowed to all the Jewish people from exile to return home, in Jerusalem and started to build a new temple. However, the Ark of the Covenant disappeared during the reign of Nebuchadnezzar.
In order to confirm the freedom deprivation that Jewish people suffered in their history, during the next centuries, Jerusalem was captured by Alexander the Great and by Egyptians and Seleucid empires.
In 65 BCE, Pompey, the Roman general, conquered Jerusalem and set up the Roman rules.
Between the 1300 and 1600 CE, during the Classical Ottoman period, the Jewish people enjoyed more freedom and a huge level of prosperity.
Starting with the 17th century, more and more Jews started travelling and settling in Europe. Jewish people started to emphasize on other objectives like science, economy and philosophy and many of them became famous, some of them winning Nobel Prizes in various domains:
- Chemistry: 36 prize winners;
- Economics: 30 prize winners;
- Literature: 15 prize winners;
- Peace: 9 prize winners;
- Physics: 52 prize winners;
- Physiology or Medicine: 55 prize winners.
In 1939, The World War II began and Hitler settled a lot of anti-Semitic laws with the main objective of exterminating the races considered by him to be inferior, races like: Jewish people and gypsies. After occupying Poland, in 1941, 3 million Jews were exterminated in gas chambers, 1 million of them being killed in only one concentration camp, in Auschwitz. During the Holocaust or Shoah (in Hebrew language), approximately 6 million Jews were exterminated.
Jewish state nowadays
On 14th of May, 1948, David Ben – Gurion proclaimed the estabilishment of Jewish state in the State of Israel. Today, in 2017, Israel is a democratic country with a population of 8.059 million people, 6 million of them being Jewish people.