In the biblical narrative, the term Israelites refers to the direct descendants of the patriarch Jacob, who was also called Israel. Historians use the term to refer to the population of the (possibly mythical) United Kingdom of Israel and Judah. The Jews are named after the southern Israelite Kingdom of Judah. The citizens of the modern state of Israel are referred to as Israelis.
The history, religion, and genetics of the ancient Israelites and their relationships to current politics, religions, and population genetics are for a variety of reasons very controversial and extensively debated topics.