It is a complex conjuction of aspects from common history to tradition and Torah, from language to land of Israel where we were born, from a way of living to a people, a tribe, a nation that is sui generis, because it has survived in dispersion for two millenia keeping its tenets and traditions, and its yearning to be a free natiion out of exile again. In my personal opinion, only Christianity is a religion, and the term religare -thus religion- is a Christian term. It doesn't apply to any other manifestation of the human experience of relating to what it conceives as the divine. Neither Buddhism, nor native spiritual traditions, nor Islam are a religion. In Islam, there is teh concept of an "umma", and they themselves don't regard themselves as a religion. No Islamic institution has the term "religion" in it, even though it is an aspect of it. It is a mistake to apply the legitimate term religion, which applies to Christianity, to other traditions. They are less based on faith and belief than Christianity. The terms "believer", "faith" are very important in Christianity. So is "cathesism". But one cannot apply these terms to all of Judaism, to Islam, to Jainism, Zoroastrianism, Hinduism, or Sikhism, nor to native forms of spirituality or tradition. A non believing, non practicing Jew is as Jew too. Take Woody Allen as a cheerful example of it.
Neurologist and author Oliver Sacks dies at 82 (Haaretz)
from the article: Israeli population stands at 7,695,000 at end of 2010