The name Judea is a Greek and Roman adaptation of the name "Judah".
Jews are indigenous to Israel, the birthplace of their identity, language, religion, and culture. Zion is an age-old name for Jerusalem and the land of Israel. That is why Zionism is the name of the national liberation movement of the Jewish people who sought to restore their freedom and independence in their ancestral homeland.
Theodor Herzl founded the modern Zionist movement in 1897, but the dream of restoration and return had always been at the core of Judaism and Jewish identity. Rome tried to obliterate the millennia-old Jewish state in the first century, but unlike other nations conquered in ancient times, the Jews survived and never lost their profound attachment to their land of origin. Jews lived in the land of Israel continuously for 3,000 years. Those forced into exile expressed their yearning to return in their daily liturgy and prayers. For 2,000 years many came back in periodic waves of immigration. By the late 1860s, Jews once again were the majority in Jerusalem.
Zionists hoped to overcome the 1,900 years of oppression and injustice Jews had endured across Europe and the Middle East. The Zionists believed that if the scattered Jews reunited in their historic homeland, joining the Jews who were already there, they could restore their freedom, be free from prejudice, and further develop their unique culture. Jews would return legally, purchase the land, and restore it through their own labor. Zionists envisioned living in friendship with non-Jewish residents and believed the entire region would benefit from their restoration of the land.
More Resources - Israel History and Timeline
An indigenous people developed a thriving civilization and culture in their homeland. Over time they were conquered by a series of aggressive foreign empires, and while some of the people stayed in their cities and communities, most of them scattered across Europe and the Middle East. Although they flourished at times, for 1,900 years they lived as an oppressed minority, suffering persecution, expulsions, and ultimately genocide. They barely survived but never lost hope. They overcame. They started a liberation movement, went back home to join those who were already there, and built one of the most inspiring nations the world has ever seen. That nation is Israel, and this is the story of the Jewish people in their homeland.
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