Introduction to Contemporary Israeli Society
This course seeks to unravel the complexity of the Israeli political, social, and cultural aspects and provide tools for understanding the uniqueness of Israeli society and peoples. Students will read and discuss issues such as religion and democracy; ethnicity and nationalism; cultural diversity; gender, media and popular culture. The course introduces Israel’s contemporary society through a holistic approach using lectures, films, and discussions.
Requirements: Attending classes, reading class materials, final exam.
Topic 1: Pre-State and early stages of nation building
Lesson 1: Introduction to the course, Overview of Zionism
Lesson 2: Modern history of Eretz Israel/Palestine
Lesson 3: The Holocaust and its impact on Israel
Ofer, Dalia. 2009. “The Past that Does Not Past: Israelis and Holocaust Memories.” Israel Studies 14(1), 1-35.
Film: “Operation Thunderbolt”
Topic 2: The Israeli-Palestinian conflict
Lesson 4: The Arab-Palestinian minority in Israel
Smooha, Sammy. 2004. “Arab-Jewish Relation in Israel: A Deeply Divided Society.” In Israeli Identity in Transition, edited by Anita Shapira. Westport: Praeger, 31-67.
Lesson 5: Military and society relations
Film: Waltz with Basir (2008)
Lesson 6: Peace and Wars
Topic 3: Religion, ethnicity, and gender
Lesson 7: Religious Secular Divide
Film: “Haredi: The Ultra-Orthodox Community in Israel” (2008-2009)
Lesson 8: Ethnicity divide
Reading: Mizrachi, Nisim and Hana Herzog. 2012. “Participatory Destigmatization Strategies among Palestinian Citizens of Israel, Ethiopian Jews and Mizrahi Jews in Israel.” Ethnic and Racial Studies 35(3):418-435.
Lesson 9: Gender, gender and its relation to religion and ethnicity, Israel as a ‘femilism’ society
Reading: Ivry, Tsipy. 2013. “Halachic Infertility: Rabbis, Doctors and the Struggle over Professional Boundaries. “ Medical Anthropology 32(3): 208-236.
Topic 4: Globalization, civil society, and contemporary culture
Lesson 10: Globalization and multiculturalism in Israel society.
Gutwein, Daniel. 2004. “From Melting Pot to Multiculturalism; Or, the Privatization of Israeli Identity.” In Israeli Identity in Transition, edited by Anita Shapira. Westport: Praeger, 215-231.
Lesson 11: Contemporary art and culture
Film: Late Wedding (2001)
Lesson 12: Conclusions: Is there an Israeli culture?