In the late 330s BCE, Alexander the Great invaded the Middle East (including the area which is now Israel), during his campaigns against the Persians. The landscape during this period was markedly changed by extensive growth and development that included urban planning and the establishment of well-built fortified cities. Hellenistic pottery, trade and commerce flourished, particularly in the most Hellenized areas, such as Ashkelon, Jaffa, Jerusalem, Gaza, and ancient Nablus (Tell Balatah).
When Hasmonean Kingdom was absorbed into the Roman Empire, the area remained under the influence of the Greek language and culture. Especially when the Byzantine Empire took the position of the Romans, Palasetina reached its greatest prosperity in antiquity. Urbanization increased, large new areas were put under cultivation, monasteries proliferated and synagogues were restored. The cities of Palaestina Prima and Teria, such as Caesarea Maritima, Jerusalem, Scythopolis, Neapolis, and Gaza reached their peak population, and the population west of the Jordan may have reached as many as one million.
1 Druze have a status aparte from Arabs in Israel, being designated as a separate ethno-religious community. 2 Maronites and Syriac Christians are eligible to be registered as "Arameans" since October 2014.