ISRAEL (Hebrew for "God strives" or "rules"; see Gen. xxxii. 28; and the allusion in Hosea xii. 4), the national designation of the Jews. Israel was a name borne by their ancestor Jacob the father of the twelve tribes. For some centuries the term was applied to the northern kingdom, as distinct from Judah, although the feeling of national unity extended it so as to include both. It emphasizes more particularly the position of the Hebrews as a religious community, bound together by common aims and by their covenant-relation with the national God, Yahweh.
See further JACOB, HEBREW LANGUAGE, HEBREW RELIGION, JEws: History and Palestine.
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