In addressing contemporary Israel, this course will have two focal points. First, and most centrally, the course will involve an in-depth examination of a limited number of issues. Second, the course will assess recent scholarship on Israel—what is commonly called Israel Studies—concentrating on scholarly articles written in the last decade.
The first focal point—the examination of a limited number of critical issues—will look carefully at four topics. The first, “Israel as international linchpin,” will analyze multiple cross-currents in contemporary global politics and Mideast regional dynamics and how Israel is either at the center of these or reflects larger trends. There will be discussion of Israel within the context of the current disintegration of neighboring states and the country’s relationship to the United States. Second, “Israel and the new economics of development” inquires into the complex economics of Israel, including its move towards high-tech industries, growing economic inequality (and the social protests that erupted in 2011), and historical changes in the economy. Third, the course will delve into the social composition of Israeli society in “Creating a nation,” analyzing questions of division and unity, within the Jewish majority, as well as relations between Jewish and Arab citizens in Israel, and relations between Palestinians in the occupied territories and Israel. Finally, “Politics and paralysis” will survey the contemporary situation, with special regard to state-society relations and the internal functioning of the state.
The Four Issues on Which the Course Will Focus:
- Israel as international linchpin: Israel is at the center of many key currents and crises in international affairs, including the Palestinian-Israeli crisis, the rise of non-state actors (through its conflicts with Hamas and Hezbollah), the Syrian civil war, the campaign against a nuclear Iran, human rights abuses, the U.S. changing role in the Middle East, and more.
- Israel and the new economics of development: Israel has been called start-up nation because of its large number of new businesses involving software development, bio-genetics, bio-engineering, and more. How did the transformation in its economy occur, and what lessons does it hold for other middle- and low-income countries seeking to develop their economies?
- Creating a nation: Like many new countries, the Israeli population is divided by multiple fault lines, including Arab-Jew, Mizrahi-Ashkenazi, religious-secular, Tel-Aviv area-peripheral areas. How does a relatively new state deal with deeply embedded divisions in its population?
- Politics and paralysis: Israel’s political institutions were relatively autonomous and active in the first decades of the state. But since then they have been weighed down by the sort of stand-offs that we have seen in Congress and the Supreme Court in the United States in recent years. Important veto groups have emerged, the population has become increasingly cynical about politics, and the divide between left and right has become increasingly wide. How and why did this transition take place? Is there a way out of the deadlock?
- Every student must come to class prepared to speak on the readings for that week. The readings will mostly be in the form of scholarly journal articles, and students will read them and prepare personal notes to be drawn upon in class discussions. The notes should cover two dimensions: a) what does the article tell us about Israel, and b) how can we assess the article as a scholarly piece of work? Additionally, students will read sections of Anita Shapira’s Israel: A History each week. The book is available in the University Bookstore.
- Students will select a daily English language online newspaper or magazine devoted to Israel and follow that source daily throughout the course. Students will use their sources for the Israel Today discussions in class. Particular attention should be paid to the election campaign and stories that touch on one of the four dimensions on which the class focuses.
- Every student will write two response papers during the course of the quarter. These papers will be based on a single article or several articles comparatively drawn from the reading list below. Students choose which articles they wish to write on. The assignment is NOT intended for extended summaries of the articles or an in-depth analysis of the topic of the articles. Rather, students will develop an argument about the articles: how they are constructed, how they use evidence, the strengths or weaknesses of the authors’ arguments, the approach the authors take, differences between authors, or any other topic that is textually based and largely uses excerpts from the text as evidence. These papers will be about 2 pages, double-spaced. Papers should be uploaded to the course website anytime during the quarter through March 2 (no response papers will be accepted after that date). The only limitation is that papers must be submitted before the articles that are the subject of the paper are discussed in class.
- The final paper will be a 10-page bibliographic essay (double-spaced, 12 pt. Times New Roman), plus bibliography. The bibliographic essay is due March 9.
1) article response paper
2) article response paper
3) class participation
4) bibliographic paper
5) final exam
Lateness penalty: 0.2 first day and 0.1 every day thereafter.
Topics and Readings:
Week 1 January 5, 7 Introduction to Israel and Israel Studies
Anita Shapira, Israel: A History, chapter 1, pp. 3-24.
Moshe Elad (2014). The birth of the core issues: the West Bank and East Jerusalem under Israeli administration, 1967–76 (Part 2) Israel Affairs, 20(1), 577-595.
Week 2 January 12, 14 Creating a State: Wonders and Warts
Anita Shapira, Israel: A History, chapters 2-4, pp. 27-117.
Menachem Klein (2014). Arab Jew in Palestine. Israel Studies, 19(3), 134-153.
Menachem Klein (2008). Jerusalem as an Israeli Problem-- A Review of Forty Years of Israeli Rule Over Arab Jerusalem Israel Studies 13(2), 54-72.
Salim Tamari (2013).
Journal of Palestine Studies, 42(4), 48-60.
Week 3 January 21 Israel and the Palestinians
Shapira, Israel: A History, chapters 5-8, pp. 119-205.
J. Pressman (2010).
Israel Studies Forum, 25(1), 88-98.
Raphael Cohen-Almagor (2012). The failed Palestinian–Israeli peace process 1993–2011: an Israeli perspective.
Israel Affairs, 18(4), 563-576.
E. Eiran (2010).
Israel Studies Forum, 25(2), 102-115.
Rashid Khalidi (2013). The United States and the Palestinians, 1977–2012. Three Key Moments Journal of Palestine Studies 42(4) 61-72.
Week 4 January 26, 28 Israel in the Middle East and Israel-U.S. Relations
Shapira, Israel: A History, chapters 9-12, pp. 208-290.
Uri Bialer (2007).
Israel Studies, 12(3), 29-67.
Yigal Levy (2009).
Israel Studies Forum, 24, (1), 3-24.
Week 5 February 2, 4 From Kibbutz to Start-up Nation
Eliezer Ben-Rafael (2011).
Israel Studies 16(2), 81-108.
Raymond Russell, Robert Hanneman, and Shlomo Getz (2011).
Israel studies 16(2), 109-126.
Ayal Kimchi (2010). Jewish Households, Arab households, and Income Inequality in Rural Israel: Ramifications for the Israeli-Arab Conflict
Defence and Peace Economics, 21(4), 381-394.
Anastasia Gorodzeisky and Moshe Semyonov (2011). Two dimensions to economic incorporation: Soviet immigrants in the Israeli labour market
Journal of Ethnic and Migration Studies, 37(7), 1059-1077.
Dan Sensor and Paul Singer (2009), Start-Up Nation: The Story of Israel’s Economic Miracle, pp. Introduction, chapters 1, 9, 10, and Conclusion, pp. 1-40, 145-173, 225-236.
Week 6 February 9, 11 Globalization & Glocalization: Prosperity & Inequality
Shapira, Israel: A History, chapters 13-16, pp. 295-353.
Moshe Semyonov and Noah Lewin-Epstein (2011).
Social Forces, 89(3), 935-959.
Yitchak Haberfeld and Yinon Cohen (2007). Gender, ethnic, and national earnings gaps in Israel: The role of rising inequality. Social Science Research, 36(2), 654-672.
Ze'ev Shavit (2013). The Bourgeois Construction of the Rural: An Israeli Case. Israel Studies Review, 28 (1), 98-119.
Week 7 February 18 The Many Faces of Israel
Shapira, Israel: A History, chapter 17-18, pp. 357-418.
Eliezer Ben-Rafael (2008). The Faces of Religiosity in Israel: Cleavages or Continuum?
Israel Studies 13(3), 89-113.
An academic debate:
- 1. Ian S. Lustick (2011). Israel's Migration Balance Demography, Politics, and Ideology. Israel Studies Review, 26(1), 33-65.
- 2. S. DellaPergola (2011). When Scholarship Disturbs Narrative: Lan Lustick on Israel's Migration Balance. Israel Studies Review, 26(2), 1-20.
- Ian S. Lustick (2011). Leaving the Villa and touching a Raw Nerve.
Israel Studies Review, 26(2), 21-27.
Week 8 February 23, 25 Cohesion and Conflict: Intra-group Relations
Uri Cohen and Nissim Leon (2014). The Mahapach and Yitzhak Shamir's Quiet Revolution: Mizrahim and the Herut Movement. Israel Studies Review, 29(1), 18-40.
Pnina O. Plaut and Steven E. Plaut (2002). Income Inequality in Israel. Israel Affairs, 8(3), 47-66.
Orna Sasson-Levy (2011). Research on Gender and the Military in Israel: From a Gendered Organization to Inequality Regimes. Israel Studies Review, 26(2), 73-98.
Dana Kachtan (2012). The Construction of Ethnic Identity in the Military--From the Bottom Up. Israel Studies 17(3), 150-175.
Amal Jamal (2008).
Israel Studies Forum, 23(2), 3-28.
Eliezer Ben-Rafael (2007)
Israel Studies 12(3), 68-91.
Week 9 March 2, 4 (guest lecturer, Professor Noam Pianko)
Jewish Nation, Israeli Nation, Jewish State, Democratic State
Mordechai Nisan (2013).
Israel Affairs, 19(2), 259-272.
Yitzhak Conforti (2011), Between ethnic and civic: the realistic Utopia of Zionism. Israel Affairs, 17(4) 563-582.
As'ad Ghanem (2011).The Expanding Ethnocracy Judaization of the Public Sphere. Israel Studies Review, 26(1), 21-27.
Yoav Peled and Daron Navot, (2005). Ethnic Democracy Revisited: On the State of Democracy in the Jewish State
Israel Studies Forum, 20(1), 3-27.
Adia Mendelson-Maoz and Liat Steir-Livny (2011). The Jewish Works of Sayed Kashua: Subversive or Subordinate? Israel Studies Review, 26(1), 107-129.
As’ad Ghanem and Mohanad Mustafa (2009). Coping with the Nakba: The Palestinians in Israel and the "Future Vision" as a Collective Agenda
Israel Studies Forum, 24, 2, 52-66.
Dov Waxman (2013), Israel's other Palestinian problem: the Future Vision Documents and the demands of the Palestinian minority in Israel, Israel Affairs, 19(1), 214-229.
Harel-Shalev, Ayelet. (2006).
Israel Studies Forum, 21(2), 28-57.
Week 10 March 9, March 11 Politics, Paralysis, Elections
Shapira, Israel: A History, chapters 19 and Summary, pp. 422-475.
Party Membership in Israel: An Overview Israel Studies Review, 28 (1), 8-32.
Avraham Doron (2007). Multiculturalism and the Erosion of Support for the Universalistic Welfare State: The Israeli Experience Israel Studies, 12(3), 92-108.
Asaf Meydani (2012). The Supreme Court as a Political Entrepreneur: The Case of Israela. Israel Studies Review, 27(2), 65-85.
Mordechai Kremnitzer and Shiri Krebs (2011). From Illiberal Legislation to Intolerant Democracy. Israel Studies Review, 26(1), 4-11.
Yaron Ezrahi (2011). A Plethora of Challenges. Israel Studies Review, 26(1), 28-32.
Abraham Mansbach (2011). Drifting Away from Democracy A Micropolitical Critique of the Relation between the 'I' and the 'We' in Israel. Israel Studies Review, 26(1), 130-145.
JACKSON SCHOOL OF INTERNATIONAL STUDIES
INFORMATION FOR STUDENTS*
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COURSES, GRADING, ACADEMIC CONDUCT
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Office of Scholarly Integrity
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* Adapted from material prepared by the UW Department of History and used with permission.