The Jewish people are indigenous to the land of Israel. Even during periods of mass exile, there has always been a documented Jewish presence maintained in the land.
Following the destruction by the Romans in 70 CE of the Second Jewish Temple in the Jewish capital of Jerusalem, most Jews were exiled, and they became a Diaspora.
While in the Diaspora, the Jewish community preserved their connection to their ancestral homeland. This included Jewish holidays revolving around the agricultural cycle of the land of Israel and Jerusalem and the other holy cities maintaining their status as pilgrimage sites for Jews around the world. Moreover, Jewish text and prayers and many Jewish holidays, predating the destruction of the Second Temple, evoke the yearning to return to Zion, with the Passover Seder culminating in the song L’Shanah Habah B’Yerushalayim (Next Year in Jerusalem).
The Torah, or the Old Testament, reaffirms the link between the Jewish people and the land of Israel on almost every page.
More recently, archeological discoveries prove that Jewish presence in the land of Israel goes back thousands of years, concrete evidence of the inextricable connection between the Jewish people and the land of Israel.
More than 150 years ago, Jews began returning to their homeland in larger and larger numbers, becoming the majority in Jerusalem in the 1860s and establishing Tel Aviv in 1909. In the 1917 Balfour Declaration, the UK recognized the indigenous rights of the Jewish people and endorsed the restoration of the Jewish homeland.
Today, the families of most Israeli Jews come from the Middle East, Africa, and Asia. They are neither “white” nor European.
The Jews who returned to their homeland from Europe are also not colonizers as they neither represent a foreign power nor identify with the European countries from which they come. They are members of the Jewish people who for centuries have been persecuted in Europe and ostracized from society.