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  • The history of Israel encompasses the history of the modern State of Israel, as well as that of the Jews in the Land of Israel. The area of modern Israel is small, about the size of Wales or half the size of Costa Rica, and is located roughly on the site of the ancient kingdoms of Israel and Judah except that these ancient kingdoms also included what is now the West Bank. It is the birthplace of the Hebrew language spoken in Israel, and of the Abrahamic religions. It contains sites believed to be sacred to Judaism, Christianity, Islam, Druze and Bahá'í Faith. Although coming under the sway of various empires and home to a variety of ethnicities, the Land of Israel was predominantly Jewish until the 3rd Century. The area became increasingly Christian after the 3rd century and then largely Muslim from the 7th century conquest until the middle of the 20th century. It was a focal point of conflict between Christianity and Islam between 1096 and 1291, and from the end of the Crusades until the British conquest in 1917 was part of the Syrian province of first the Mamluk Sultanate of Egypt and then the Ottoman Empire.

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