The program integrates historical and contemporary perspectives and focuses on the emergence of Zionist ideology and the global Jewish people, the pre-state communities under Ottoman and British, and the State of Israel.
In addition to its interdisciplinary focus, the program is based on an understanding of the field of Israel Studies as situated at the juncture of related fields including Jewish Studies, Middle East Studies, Ethnic Studies, Area Studies, Cultural Studies, and more. The courses offered in the program reflect this approach, and include classes that examine the story of Israel as an integral part of the political, social, and cultural history of modern and contemporary Judaism and of the Middle East, from interdisciplinary and multidisciplinary perspectives.
Since the 2011-2012 academic year, WSISIP, through the Ben-Gurion University’s (BGU) Ben-Gurion Research Institute for the Study of Israel and Zionism (BGRI), has welcomed students from Israel and around the world to its MA program at the BGU Sede-Boqer Campus. Today, Israel, the United States, Korea, Germany, Argentina, Azerbaijan, Brazil, China, and Kenya, to name a few, are all represented in the student body.
WSISIP filled a gap in available programs for English speakers at a Master's level in Israel Studies and developed to meet a growing demand and interest in the subject. As the program has grown, so has the diversity in terms of academic backgrounds, viewpoints, and research topics. Part of WSISIP's unique draw is its proximity to the Ben-Gurion Archives, an on-site Israel centric library, and its location in the Negev.