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In 587 BCE Nebuchadnezzar II, King of the Neo-Babylonian Empire, besieged Jerusalem, destroyed the First Temple, and deported the most prominent citizens of Judah.The exile ended with the return under Zerubbabel the Prince (so-called because he was a descendant of the royal line of David) and Joshua the Priest (a descendant of the line of the former High Priests of the Temple) and their construction of the Second Temple in the period 521–516 BCE.
Genetic studies on Jews show that most Jews worldwide bear a common genetic heritage which originates in the Middle East, and that they bear their strongest resemblance to the peoples of the Fertile Crescent.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.The genetic composition of different Jewish groups shows that Jews share a common genetic pool dating back 4,000 years, as a marker of their common ancestral origin.Despite their long-term separation, Jewish communities maintained commonalities in culture, tradition, and language.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.
He also stated that archaeology suggests that the return was a "trickle" taking place over decades, rather than a single event.
The region was under control of the Achaemenids until the fall of their empire in c. Jews were also politically independent during the Hasmonean dynasty spanning from 140 to 37 BCE and to some degree under the Herodian dynasty from 37 BCE to 6 CE.
Jewish ethnicity, nationhood and religion are strongly interrelated, as Judaism is the traditional faith of the Jewish people while its observance varies from strict observance to complete nonobservance.
Jews originated as an ethnic and religious group in the Middle East during the second millennium BCE, consolidated their hold with the emergence of the Kingdom of Israel, and the Kingdom of Judah.
In this case, it is complicated by long standing politics and religious and cultural prejudices.