Judaism is one of the oldest religions in the world, where the adherents believe in the worship and belief in one God. The Israelites or the Hebrews began Judaism some thousands of years ago in the Middle East with Abraham viewed as the father of their faith (Scheindlin, 2000). Some of the fundamental beliefs of Judaism include the aspect of monotheism, the covenant between God and the Israelites – His chosen people, and the existence and power of God’s law. Most of these laws are highlighted and explained in the Torah. Indeed, the Jews believe that their God created the universe and every Jew should have a personal relationship with Him.
According to Scheindlin (2000), the relationship between God and the Jews is a covenant relationship where God expects something from the Jews in return they become a witness of God’s mercy to the world. Various forms of Judaism include Orthodox Judaism, Reform Judaism, Conservative Judaism, and Messianic Judaism (Atkinson, 2009). In Orthodox Judaism, such Jews exhibit a strict observance of Jewish laws and rituals. The Jews that subscribe to Reform Judaism espouses the progressive nature of their Jewish faith and the superiority of the ethical aspects of the strict compliance with the Jewish laws. Conservative Judaism is a form of Judaism which lies between Orthodox Judaism and Reform Judaism. Lastly, the Messianic Judaism incorporates aspects of Christianity and their beliefs in Judaism – this means they believe Jesus is the Messiah but still adhere to Jewish traditions (Scheindlin, 2000).
Throughout their history, the Jewish people have experienced persecution because of their beliefs. Some examples of events where the Jewish people suffered persecution include the first crusade. During the first crusade, some Western Europe forces tried to recapture Jerusalem from Muslim control (Scheindlin, 2000). The series of holy wars involved both the Christians and Muslims with thousands of Jews being on the receiving end. Indeed, the majority of the Jews were forced to convert to Christianity. Another prominent event that affected the Jews was the 1066 Granada Massacre where a Muslim mob went into the royal palace in Granada and ended up killing many Jewish families (Scheindlin, 2000). Moreover, the mob also crucified one of the Jewish viziers to the Berber King Joseph ibn Naghrela. Another notable event where the Jews experienced persecution was the Spanish Expulsion where the Spanish rulers ordered a royal decree which declared all the Jews that refused to convert to Christianity expelled out of the country (Scheindlin, 2000). Estimates have it that about 200000 people were ousted from Spain with others dying while trying to reach safety.
The last form of persecution that the Jewish people have experienced is the Holocaust, which is the most well-known act in modern history where the Nazi regime killed more than six million Jews (Atkinson, 2009). In spite of the many persecutions by different governments in the world, the Jews have always found a way to find their way back to their land of Israel in significant numbers. After the Holocaust, the Jews returned to their homeland in the Middle East a region known as Palestine. The resettled Jews in the newly formed state Israel embraced Zionism as a movement that included the creation of a Jewish nation and the return of all Jews to their home. In the year 1948 Israel officially became an independent state with this event regarded a success by the Jewish people who had always petitioned for a country in their homeland (Atkinson, 2009). However, just like in medieval times, there are persistent tensions between the Jews and the Arabs living in Palestine since the year when Israel became a state till the present.