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Jacob's twelve sons became the ancestors of the Israelites, also known as the Twelve Tribes of Israel or Children of Israel.
Jacob and his sons had lived in Canaan but were forced by famine to go into Egypt for four generations, lasting 430 years, led the Israelites back into Canaan during the "Exodus".
After the Persian conquest and the installation of a short-lived Jewish Commonwealth in 614 CE, the Byzantine Empire reconquered the country in 628.
In 634–641 CE, the region, including Jerusalem, was conquered by the Arabs who had recently adopted Islam.
The Mamluk Sultanate of Egypt extended its control over the Levant in the 13th century until its defeat by the Ottoman Empire in 1517.
During the 19th century, national awakening among Jews led to the establishment of the Zionist movement in the diaspora followed by waves of immigration to Ottoman Syria and later Mandatory Palestine.
The Roman Empire invaded the region in 63 BCE, first taking control of Syria, and then intervening in the Hasmonean Civil War.
Control of the region transferred between the Rashidun Caliphs, Umayyads, Abbasids, Fatimids, Seljuks, Crusaders, and Ayyubids throughout the next three centuries.