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With a population of approximately 4.2 million Jews, Israel is home to about one-third of the world Jewry, estimated at 12.9 million at the end of 1992. Some feel the United States, with 5.8 million Jews, is the de facto home of Jews, evidenced in part by the fact that Israel is sometimes called "Little America" because of its similarities to the United States.Accounting for more than three-fourths of the world Jewry, Israel and the United States represent the two major Jewish population regions.Located in the Middle East with a land mass of 7,992 square miles, Israel is only slighter larger than New Jersey.It is bounded by Lebanon in the north, by Syria and Jordan in the east, by Egypt in the southwest, and by the Mediterranean Sea in the west.Abraham's monotheism not only marked the beginning of Judaism, but of Christianity and Islam as well.Although Jews comprise less than three percent of the American population, Jews have generally had a disproportionately larger representation in American government, business, academia, and entertainment.
In general, one is Jewish if born of a Jewish mother or if he or she converts to Judaism.Most Jews consider the State of Israel the Jewish homeland.For many Jews, the binding force is Judaism, a term usually referring to the Jewish religion but sometimes used to refer to all Jews.There are, however, Jewish atheists and agnostics, and one does not have to be religious to be Jewish.
On the whole, however, Jews have enjoyed greater acceptance in America than in any other country and have figured prominently in American culture and politics.
Jewish history dates back 4,000 years to the time of Abraham, the biblical figure credited for introducing the belief in a single God.