The name "Israel" is rooted in the Hebrew Bible, where
Jacob is renamed Israel after wrestling with a mysterious adversary.
The biblical nation fathered by Jacob was then called "The
Children of Israel" or the "Israelites". Citizens
of the modern State of Israel are referred to, in English, as "Israelis".
In an interlinear, literal translation of Genesis 32:28, the first
mention of the word "Israel" in the Bible reads as follows:
"And-he-is-saying not Jacob he-shall-be-said further name-of-you
but rather Israel that you-are-upright with Elohim and with mortals
and-you-are-prevailing." Thus one literal translation of
"Israel" is "Upright (with) God" (Ishr-al).
The earliest known mention of the name 'Israel', probably referring
to a group of people rather than to a place, is the Egyptian Merneptah
Stele dated to about 1211 BCE.  For over 3,000 years, Jews have
regarded the Land of Israel as their homeland, both as a Holy Land
and as a Promised land. The land of Israel holds a special place
in Jewish religious obligations, encompassing Judaism's most important
sites — including the remains of the First and Second Temples,
as well as the rites concerning those temples.  Starting around
1200 BCE, a series of Jewish kingdoms and states existed intermittently
in the region for more than a millennium.
Under Assyrian, Babylonian, Persian, Greek, Roman, Byzantine, and
(briefly) Sassanian rule, Jewish presence in the province dwindled
due to mass expulsions. In particular, the failure of the Bar Kochba
Revolt against the Roman Empire resulted in the large-scale expulsion
of Jews. It was during this time that the Romans gave the name Syria
Palaestina to the geographic area, in an attempt to erase Jewish
ties to the land. The Mishnah and Jerusalem Talmud, two of Judaism's
most important religious texts, were composed in the region during
this period. The Muslims conquered the land from the Byzantine Empire
in 638 CE. The area was ruled by various Muslim states (interrupted
by the rule of the Crusaders) before becoming part of the Ottoman
Empire in 1517..