The course examines the development of Israeli society and politics from 1948 until today. We will discuss many aspects regarding the evolution of modern Israel. Topics will include: mass immigration; relations between Arabs and Jews, between Mizrahi and Ashkenazi Jews, and between secular and religious communities; relations between Israel and diaspora Jewish communities; government and political parties; the rolel of the army in the Israeli society; wars vs peace talks; the israeli economy; technology and the "start-up nation." The course examines political issues in dispute, such as the settlements in the West-Bank, inrelations with Arab countries, and the peace process with the Palestinians. The course will conclude with a discussion of current issues in Israel, which by nature will be different from year to year.
Co-curricular events and excursions, as well as local visiting speakers, will complement the academic program and introduce many of the social cleaveages of Israel including Jews, Christians, Muslims, and Druze. Excursions will be in many Israeli cities/towns, such as Haifa, Jerusalem, Nazareth, Tel-Aviv, Jaffa, Daliyat al-Karmel, and Isfiya.
The course will provide students on state of the art approaches and methods of social sciences and humanities in research in the field of Israel Studies from various disciplinary perspectives. Students will be introduced to different topics, sites, and sources that can be subject to their field research such as archives, libraries, and galleries. Students will learn the methods and experience them on the field through assignments. Students will have the time to start conducting their own field research while having the ability to discuss on-site difficulties with the instructor. Such field research may be conducted towards undergraduate research paper or a graduate thesis research.
Every other year, students will have the opportunity to participate in the AIS annual conference (the Association for Israel Studies conference gathers 300-400 scholars each year) as part of the program.