Incorporated into Ptolemaic and finally Seleucid empires, the southern Levant was heavily hellenized, building the tensions between Judeans and Greeks.The conflict erupted in 167 BCE with the Maccabean Revolt, which succeeded in establishing an independent Hasmonean Kingdom in Judah, which later expanded over much of modern Israel, as the Seleucids gradually lost control in the region.
Subsequent Israelite kingdoms and states ruled intermittently over the next four hundred years, and are known from various extra-biblical sources.
Around 930 BCE, the kingdom split into a southern Kingdom of Judah and a northern Kingdom of Israel.
In 538 BCE, Cyrus the Great of Persia conquered Babylon and took over its empire.
Cyrus issued a proclamation granting subjugated nations, including the people of Judah, religious freedom (for the original text, which corroborates the biblical narrative only in very broad terms, see the Cyrus Cylinder).
The great majority of Israeli Arabs are Sunni Muslims, including significant numbers of semi-settled Negev Bedouins; the rest are Christians and Druze.
Other minorities include Arameans, Armenians, Assyrians, Black Hebrew Israelites, Circassians, Maronites and Samaritans.
Assyrian records say he leveled 46 walled cities and besieged Jerusalem, leaving after receiving extensive tribute.
In 586 BCE, King Nebuchadnezzar II of Babylon conquered Judah.
However, peace treaties between Israel and both Egypt and Jordan have successfully been signed.