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It requires examining at least 3,000 years of ancient human history using documents in vast quantities and variety written in at least ten near Eastern languages.
As archaeological discovery relies upon researchers and scholars from diverse disciplines, the goal is to interpret all of the factual data, focusing on the most consistent theory.
According to the report, about 44% of all Jews reside in Israel (6.3 million), and 40% in the United States (5.7 million), with most of the remainder living in Europe (1.4 million) and Canada (0.4 million).
The exile ended with the return under Zerubbabel the Prince (so-called because he was a descendant of the royal line of David) and Joshua the Priest (a descendant of the line of the former High Priests of the Temple) and their construction of the Second Temple in the period 521–516 BCE.
In such contexts Jewish is the only acceptable possibility.
Some people, however, have become so wary of this construction that they have extended the stigma to any use of Jew as a noun, a practice that carries risks of its own.
In addition to issues with census methodology, disputes among proponents of halakhic, secular, political, and ancestral identification factors regarding who is a Jew may affect the figure considerably depending on the source.
Israel is the only country where Jews form a majority of the population.