Israelite heritage as defined by Israel's Jewish inhabitants began 3,000 years ago and persists to this day in the Hebrew language, Jewish religion and culture. Israelites trace their origin to Abraham, Yitshak (Isaac) and Jacob (Israel) who lived in Canaan, which became Israel. Israel formed a nation in 1300 BCE after the Jews were driven out of Egypt. For the next 200 years, Israel was ruled by judges and priests.
After the Roman persecution in 70 CE, Israelites were scattered in a diaspora, which means life outside Israel. They continued to follow their customs and religion when they relocated across Russia, North Africa and Europe. Israel proclaimed its independence from Great Britain in 1948 and many Jews returned to their homeland. Israeli culture retains its links to the biblical land of Judah and includes the study of Jewish texts, charity within the community and understanding Jewish history. Israeli heritage is expressed in art and historical museums, music, folk and modern dance, performance and visual arts and literature, and has been influenced by Jews returning from the diaspora with customs from Russian, Arabic and other ethnic groups. One custom that has not changed is the Jewish wedding, which follows religious tradition and is the only connubial bond recognized in Israel.