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Light iron-age reading
The Bible
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Gabbin' with God

An Israelite is one of a race of people who lived in Israel in ancient times, specifically in the Bronze/Iron Ages (mostly). They are generally considered the ancestors of most modern Jews.

They are also extensively mentioned in the Bible (in fact, the Bible is written by and for them), thus leading countless people to claim to be "their" descendants, and quite an amount of woo to surround them as well. This is largely because the Israelites were the "chosen people of God" according to the Bible, so people want to take that claim for themselves.

According to the Bible, Israelites were descended from a guy named Jacob, who later changed his name to Israel after a fight with God, hence 'Israelite'.[1] The same book also says that they were slaves in Egypt for 400+ years, then escaped to Canaan (but only after wandering the desert for 40 years) where they fiercely conquered the Canaanites just for living there. There is zero archaeological evidence for any of this.[2]

Rather, they were Canaanites who gradually gave themselves a separate identity after escaping to the highlands of Israel due to the destruction of the Canaanite coastal cities in the Late Bronze Age collapseWikipedia's W.svg.

An Israelite is also an Israeli with 30% fewer calories.


  1. Israelites, Catholic Encyclopedia. Vol. 8. New York: Robert Appleton Company, 1910. Accessed 13 June 2018
  2. Archeology of the Hebrew Bible, PBS Nova, 2008