Incorporated into Ptolemaic and finally Seleucid empires, the southern Levant was heavily hellenized, building the tensions between Judeans and Greeks.
The conflict erupted in 167 BCE with the Maccabean Revolt, which succeeded in establishing an independent Hasmonean Kingdom in Judah, which later expanded over much of modern Israel, as the Seleucids gradually lost control in the region.
According to the Hebrew Bible, he destroyed Solomon's Temple and exiled the Jews to Babylon.
The defeat was also recorded in the Babylonian Chronicles.
With the decline of the Herodian dynasty, Judea, transformed into a Roman province, became the site of a violent struggle of Jews against Greco-Romans, culminating in the Jewish–Roman wars, ending in wide-scale destruction, expulsions, and genocide.
The Greek conquests largely skipped the region without any resistance or interest.
In its Basic Laws, Israel defines itself as a Jewish and democratic state.
Jacob's twelve sons became the ancestors of the Israelites, also known as the Twelve Tribes of Israel or Children of Israel.
The area is also known as the Holy Land, being holy for all Abrahamic religions including Judaism, Christianity, Islam and the Bahá'í Faith.
From 1920, the whole region was known as Palestine (under British Mandate) Other notable Paleolithic sites include caves Tabun, Qesem and Manot.