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Introduction

The Jewish Diaspora and Israel


Roman soldiers carrying off
the Menorah...



Stamp issued by the
Indian post office...



Bukharan Jews around 1890...


THE FIRST JEWISH communities outside of Israel are established during the Babylonian Exile (700 BCE). Jews also settle on the Arabian Peninsula and in Egypt. After the Jewish revolts against the Roman occupation (66-135 CE), Jews are banned from living in Jerusalem and Judea. Under Byzantine rule (324-640 CE), Christianity is introduced in Israel and many anti-Jewish laws are enacted. By the 6th century, Jews have become a minority in their own land. After the Arab conquest, the Jewish population declines further. At the time of the first crusades (11th century), only a few thousand Jews remain in Israel.

Jews for many centuries form the only religious and ethnic minority in the countries they settled in. They live in their own communities separate from the general population under special laws and restrictions. They use the Hebrew language or dialects that combined Hebrew with the language of the country: Yiddish among Ashkenasim, Jews who originally settled in Germany; Ladino among Sephardim, Jews who have migrated to Spain, and Judeo-Arabic among Jews in North Africa. (CONT)

Map: The Jewish Diaspora
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