Consider this from the book of Genesis:
“3 And Abram fell on his face; and God talked with him, saying:
4 'As for Me, behold, My covenant is with thee, and thou shalt be the father of a multitude of nations.
5 Neither shall thy name any more be called Abram, but thy name shall be Abraham; for the father of a multitude of nations have I made thee.
7 And I will establish My covenant between Me and thee and thy seed after thee throughout their generations for an everlasting covenant, to be a God unto thee and to thy seed after thee.”
As of 2010, there were an estimated 2.2 billion Christians in the world, 1.6 billion Muslims, and, as of 2016 around 14.6 million “Jews”. If “Jews” are considered Israelite in a strictly Biblical sense, they comprise about 1/6 (two out of 12 families) of the possible total of potential Israelites in the world, which would mean that there potentially are another 87.6 million Israelites!
This has an immediate impact on the state of Israel, because the land of Israel is the inheritance of all the sons of Jacob and not merely the seed of his son Judah. If a relative proportion of the other Israelites resettle in the land of Israel as the current Jewish population, then approximately 37.2 million additional Israelites would live within the borders of Israel! This is a major issue with the current Jewish population.
Now, remember, Christians believe in the return of an Israelite they call “Jesus”, whose return clearly would not be as anything other than an Israelite according to the Book of Revelations, with its references to the “the lion of Judah” and the “12,000 of each tribe of Israel”. Thus, there are over 2 billion people in the world waiting on an Israelite to return and save them!
When we trace the promise given to Abraham by God we find the following:
“1 And there was a famine in the land, beside the first famine that was in the days of Abraham. And Isaac went unto Abimelech king of the Philistines unto Gerar.
2 And YHWH appeared unto him and said: 'Go not down unto Egypt; dwell in the land which I shall tell thee of.
3 Sojourn in this land, and I will be with thee, and will bless thee; for unto thee, and unto thy seed, I will give all these lands, and I will establish the oath which I swore unto Abraham thy father;
4 and I will multiply thy seed as the stars of heaven, and will give unto thy seed all these lands; and by thy seed shall all the nations of the earth bless themselves;
The promise given to Abraham was passed on to his son, Isaac, and expanded to include that “by thy seed shall all the nations of the earth bless themselves;”. Then, we come to Isaac’s son, Jacob/Israel;
“10 And Jacob went out from Beer-sheba, and went toward Haran.
13 And, behold, YHWH stood beside him, and said: 'I am YHWH, the God of Abraham thy father, and the God of Isaac. The land whereon thou liest, to thee will I give it, and to thy seed.
14 And thy seed shall be as the dust of the earth, and thou shalt spread abroad to the west, and to the east, and to the north, and to the south. And in thee and in thy seed shall all the families of the earth be blessed.”
Jacob is referred to as the son of Abraham, not Isaac, and the promises given to them are again expanded upon to say that Jacob’s seed would “spread abroad to the west, and to the east, and to the north, and to the south. And in thee and in thy seed shall all the families of the earth be blessed”. The seed of Jacob would spread throughout the earth and be a blessing to everyone.
“9 And God appeared unto Jacob again, when he came from Paddan-aram, and blessed him.
10 And God said unto him: 'Thy name is Jacob: thy name shall not be called any more Jacob, but Israel shall be thy name'; and He called his name Israel.
11 And God said unto him: 'I am God Almighty. Be fruitful and multiply; a nation and a company of nations shall be of thee, and kings shall come out of thy loins;
12 and the land which I gave unto Abraham and Isaac, to thee I will give it, and to thy seed after thee will I give the land.'”
From this point onward, the seed of Jacob are also known as the sons of Israel, or Israelites, and the land of Israelis now the inheritance of the Israelites and the blessing to the families of the earth lies with them, therefore being an Israelite is a big deal! This gives major significance to the following:
“14 And Israel stretched out his right hand, and laid it upon Ephraim's head, who was the younger, and his left hand upon Manasseh's head, guiding his hands wittingly; for Manasseh was the first-born.
15 And he blessed Joseph, and said: 'The God before whom my fathers Abraham and Isaac did walk, the God who hath been my shepherd all my life long unto this day,
16 the angel who hath redeemed me from all evil, bless the lads; and let my name be named in them, and the name of my fathers Abraham and Isaac; and let them grow into a multitude in the midst of the earth.'”
The name “Israel” was here given to the seed of Joseph, Ephraim and Manasseh. When YHWH caused the nation to split, it was divided into “Israel” in the north, and “Judah” in the south. In the times of the Romans, the land was first known as “Judea” and then “Palestinia”, because the northern kingdom was in exile by then. The land under Judean rule has always been known as “Judea”, except for a brief period after the Bar-Kochba revolt when he renamed it “Israel”.
Clearly, all the seed of Judah are Israelites, but not all Israelites are Judeans! Thus, even though those who believe in “Jesus” say he was a “Jew/Judean”, he understood that he was at root an “Israelite”, which is why it is written that he said, “I am sent only to the lost sheep of the House of Israel”. He knew that being a “Jew/Judean” only meant he was a member of a larger entity, the House/Family of Israel.
In the Quran, Joseph is recognized as a prophet and is highly regarded, therefore, the acknowledgement of his seed within the returned of Israel would go a long way towards reducing the tension that exist today between the Jewish people and the Muslim world. Denying the truth of the Bible and the Quran only exacerbates the volatility of current relationships. We are talking about nearly two billion people, so I think that is another good reason to say that being “Israelite”, in the true Biblical sense, is important!