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As the oldest of the Abrahamic religions, Judaism is represented in-game with only two provinces in Ethiopia.
The area of Semien, known also as Beta Israel, starts with the Jewish religion. Furthermore, the province of Selanik in Macedonia can turn Jewish by event.
If you wish to convert your nation to the religion you must:
- Get control of a Jewish province
- Force a religious rebellion
- And then allow them to convert most of your nation to the faith
Securing a Jewish Province
There are two provinces with Jewish religion at game start.
These are Dembiya and Semien in Ethiopia.
In fact, the local population starts in revolt against the recently enthroned Ethiopian Emperor.
If you’re playing as a nation in the Horn of Africa or as the Mamelukes of Egypt, you shouldn’t have a hard time securing one or both provinces.
The province of Selanik in Macedonia, which starts under Ottoman control, can also flip to the Jewish faith by event. This is highly conditional though. A string of events must happen before it does – more specifically:
- Spanish/Castilian AI must choose “Expulsion or Conversion” during the “Alhambra decree” event
- The Ottomans must accept the Jews in another event, which also isn’t guaranteed to happen
- The Ottomans must choose to encourage the Jews to flourish during another follow-up event
This makes it possible to easily convert to Judaism as the Ottomans. Unless you go out of your way to rush it, the Jewish provinces in Ethiopia will have been converted by the time you arrive.
As a player, you can guarantee you make the right choices to enable the Jews. This means the random factor is far lower. You just need Spain to expel the Jews, which they usually decide to do.
Forcing a Rebellion
As in any other case of force-converting your nation, you need to go through certain steps.
1. Secure a Jewish province
First of all, you need to have a Jewish province under your control. Either conquer one of the two starting ones mentioned above or start as Ethiopia who controls them.
2. Send a missionary to convert the province
You do NOT want to change the province’s religion.
You simply need to force a rebellion with the rebel type “religious”. This will always happen when a missionary is present. Just make sure to lower missionary maintenance so you do not actually convert the province.
3. Mothball your forts and send your armies away
In preparation of the rebellion, you should stop maintaining forts in the country to allow the rebels to occupy provinces more easily. Set your vassals’ focus to “passive” (the “Zzz” icon) and station your armies outside your lands.
4. Let the rebels convert as much land as possible
After the rebellion fires (you can provoke it when it reaches 50% progress to speed things up), you should allow the rebels to run rampant in your nation and occupy your provinces undisturbed.
5. After more than half your country’s development follows Judaism, accept the rebels’ demands
Important: Accepting their demands before they have converted at least half your country’s development will NOT change your state religion.
Starting as a Jewish Nation
Or to make this section more literal, we could say ‘starting as THE Jewish nation’, as there is only one possible in EU4.
That is none other than the nation of Semien, releasable from Ethiopia.
If you want to feel the struggle of this small Jewish Kingdom, this is the option for you. Attempting to convert Egypt and the promised land to the one true faith and getting the unique achievement that way is certainly a satisfying experience.
Getting the Achievement
The achievement requires you to convert all of Egypt to Judaism, while having the Jewish community aspect active.
Activating the aspect just costs you 100 church power like any other. It is in fact a strong choice; you would activate it anyway.
Converting Egypt to Judaism isn’t hard. The land is normally Sunni, so it is a bit harder to convert. Although if you control Jerusalem you will get some very strong modifiers making conversion very easy.
On top of that you can:
- Accept Egyptian culture (gets rid of the -2% missionary strength for unaccepted culture)
- State the necessary provinces (gets rid of the -2% missionary strength for territories)
- Enact the “Enforce religious unity” edict in the states you are converting (+1% missionary strength)
- Hire an Inquisitor advisor (+2% missionary strength)
- Give the “enforced religious unity” and “religious culture” privileges to your estate (+1% missionary strength each)
- Enact the “Encourage Jewish conversions” decision (+2% missionary strength)
Choosing a Nation
If you want the easy way for the achievement, or an easy game as a Jewish nation in general, the Mamelukes are the best choice for you.
They are very close to the necessary provinces and can secure them in a couple of years. Then, they can immediately start the rebellions.
Admittedly, it might be hard to get the rebels to convert more than half your development before they break your country. Tips to do that:
- Exploit development in non-Jewish provinces
- Release vassals from non-Jewish provinces
- Give non-Jewish land to your vassals
- Develop provinces the rebels are about to occupy
You already have control of Jerusalem’s monument at tier 2. As a Jewish nation you get a decision to build the third temple.
This costs 4000 ducats and will bankrupt your nation in the early game. Although if you simply want the achievement, it is worth it, because at tier 3 the monument provides an extra missionary.
Beware though that one of the options spawns A LOT of Sunni rebels.
Jewish Faith Mechanics
You gain the following passive bonuses from choosing the Jewish faith as your state religion:
- +2 Tolerance of the True Faith
- +1 Possible Advisors
- All Jewish provinces receive -2% local missionary strength
The Jewish nation’s unique mechanic is the Torah aspects.
They work like the Protestant Church aspects. You need to spend 100 faith power to pick or replace an aspect and the maximum you can have saved up is 200. Your yearly gain depends on how much religious unity you have.
The differentiation is that instead of choosing three out of a pool, you choose one out of three from three different pools. One administrative aspect, one diplomatic and one military.
On top of the passive bonuses, you can “celebrate festival” from the religion tab, providing some extra instant bonuses to your nation.
Like Protestantism, you can switch between aspects freely, provided you have enough faith power. You can tailor your bonuses to your country’s current needs.