Jews, y’-hu-DEEM, יְּהוּדִים
Jews (Wikipedia)
This article is about the Jewish people. For their religion, see Judaism.
"Jew" redirects here. For other uses, see Jew (disambiguation).
Hebrew: יהודים‎‎ (Yehudim)
Rembrandt Harmensz. van Rijn 063.jpg
According to Jewish tradition, Jacob was the father of the tribes of Israel.
Total population
14.7–17.4 million
Regions with significant populations
 Israel 6,481,182
 United States 5,300,000–6,800,000
 France 467,500
 Canada 386,000
 United Kingdom 290,000
 Russia 183,000
 Argentina 181,000
 Germany 117,500
 Australia 112,800
 Brazil 94,500
 South Africa 69,800
 Ukraine 60,000
 Hungary 47,700
 Mexico 40,000
 Netherlands 29,900
 Belgium 29,800
 Italy 27,600
  Switzerland 18,900
 Chile 18,400
 Iran 9,900
Rest of the world 218,100
Historical languages:
Sacred languages:
Related ethnic groups
Samaritans,Druze, other Levantines,Arabs,Assyrians

The Jews (/dʒuːz/;Hebrew: יְהוּדִיםISO 259-3 Yhudim, Israeli pronunciation [jehuˈdim]), also known as the Jewish people, are an ethnoreligious group originating from the Israelites, or Hebrews, of the Ancient Near East. Jewish ethnicity, nationhood and religion are strongly interrelated, as Judaism is the traditional faith of the Jewish nation, while its observance varies from strict observance to complete nonobservance.

Jews originated as a national and religious group in the Middle East during the second millennium BCE, in the part of the Levant known as the Land of Israel. The Merneptah Stele appears to confirm the existence of a people of Israel, associated with the god El, somewhere in Canaan as far back as the 13th century BCE (Late Bronze Age). The Israelites, as an outgrowth of the Canaanite population, consolidated their hold with the emergence of the Kingdom of Israel, and the Kingdom of Judah. Some consider that these Canaanite sedentary Israelites melded with incoming nomadic groups known as 'Hebrews'. Though few sources in the Bible mention the exilic periods in detail, 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.

The worldwide Jewish population reached a peak of 16.7 million prior to World War II, but approximately 6 million Jews were systematically murdered during the Holocaust. Since then the population has slowly risen again, and as of 2015 was estimated at 14.3 million by the Berman Jewish DataBank, or less than 0.2% of the total world population (roughly one in every 514 people). According to the report, about 43% of all Jews reside in Israel (6.2 million), and 40% in the United States (5.7 million), with most of the remainder living in Europe (1.4 million) and Canada (0.4 million). These numbers include all those who self-identified as Jews in a socio-demographic study or were identified as such by a respondent in the same household. The exact world Jewish population, however, is difficult to measure. 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 modern State of Israel was established as a Jewish state and defines itself as such in its Declaration of Independence and Basic Laws. Its Law of Return grants the right of citizenship to any Jew who requests it.

Despite their small percentage of the world's population, Jews have significantly influenced and contributed to human progress in many fields, including philosophy,ethics,literature, business, fine arts and architecture, religion, music, theatre and cinema, medicine, as well as science and technology, both historically and in modern times.

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