Jewish populations were driven from England and France in the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries.
Located in the Middle East with a land mass of 7,992 square miles, Israel is only slighter larger than New Jersey.
It is bounded by Lebanon in the north, by Syria and Jordan in the east, by Egypt in the southwest, and by the Mediterranean Sea in the west.
Abraham's monotheism not only marked the beginning of Judaism, but of Christianity and Islam as well.
Following God's instructions, Abraham led his family out of Mesopotamia to Canaan, later renamed Palestine, then Israel. ("Hebrew" is derived from "Eber," which means "from the other side." This is a reference to the fact that Abraham came from the "other side" of the Euphrates River.) According to the Bible, God made a covenant with Abraham promising that if the Hebrews followed God's commandments, they would become a great nation in the land of Canaan.
For many Jews, the binding force is Judaism, a term usually referring to the Jewish religion but sometimes used to refer to all Jews.