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The Jewish Diaspora (Galut in Hebrew) refers to the state of Jews living outside the land of Israel. The Diaspora began when the Neo-Babylonian Empire overthrew the Kingdom of Judah, destroyed the First Temple, and took the Jews into captivity in Babylon beginning in 597 BCE. After Persian emperor Cyrus the Great conquered Babylon in 538 BCE, he permitted the Jews to return to their homeland and rebuild their Temple. However, most of the Jews decided to remain in Babylon, leaving the Jewish people geographically split. The Diaspora was radically exacerbated by the Roman destruction of Jerusalem and the Second Temple in 70 CE, after which Jewish communities scattered across Europe, Asia, and Africa. The establishment of the modern state of Israel in 1948 reined in much of the Diaspora as many Jews returned to their biblical homeland. Today, the term is used to describe the Jewish communities residing outside of the state of Israel.