324879 Introduction to Contemporary Israeli Society

Introduction to Contemporary Israeli Society

Summer Course

 Instructor: Irit Freedman

Irith freedman is writing her PhD at the faculty of Education, the University of Haifa.

Her research interests are the Israeli society, the Japanese society, food, culture, education and gender.

Her current research focuses on cognitive and behavioral aspects related to food in Israeli preschool children.

Her M.A. studies in Anthropology dealt with cultural aspects of food in the Japanese society, for which she spent an extensive period of time as a research student at Hokkaido University, Japan.

 Class meets:


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.



Final Presentation

Topic 1: Pre-State and early stages of nation building

Lesson 1 (13.7): Introduction to the course, Overview of Zionism, Modern history of Eretz Israel/Palestine

Lesson 2 (17.7): The Holocaust and its impact on Israel

In-class viewing of the film “Operation Thunderbolt” Link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=W3LTfZ1CZ1g&spfreload=10

Topic 2: The Israeli-Palestinian conflict

Lesson 3 (20.7): The Arab-Palestinian minority in Israel

Robinowitz, Dan. 1997. “The Limits of Liberal Education.” In Overlooking Nazareth: The Ethnography of Exclusion in Galilee, 82-100. Cambridge University Press.

 Lesson 4 (24.7):  Military and society relations

In-class viewing of the film Waltz with Basir (2008)

Lesson 5 (27.7): Peace and Wars

 Topic 3: Religion, ethnicity, and gender

Lesson 6 (31.7): Religious Secular Divide – part 1

In-class viewing of the film “Haredi: The Ultra-Orthodox Community in Israel” (2008-2009)

Link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FGJg1lHPPZw

Lesson 7 (3.8): Religious Secular Divide – part 2

Lesson 8 (7.8): Ethnicity divide

In-class viewing of the film “Late Wedding”

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

 Lesson 10:  Education in Israel- guest speaker

 Lesson 11: Open space discussion

 Lesson 12: Conclusions: Is there an Israeli culture?