Dr. Natan Aridan 


  • David Ben-Gurion, Britain, and the U.S. – A Paradigm of Israel's Foreign Relations, 1947-1967
    The course examines the central role David Ben-Gurion played before and after Israel's inception in the complex relationship with Britain and the United States. We will study and evaluate the crises, dilemmas, and procrastinations that he and his colleagues faced and explore the ways in which they sought to resolve them. Students will be presented with a unique opportunity to examine original documents from Israel and abroad.
  • Who Led Whom? Turning Points in Israel-Diaspora Relations, 1948-1973 – The course examines the complex and unique relationship between Israel and the Jewish Diaspora by analyzing organizations, institutions, and decision-making processes. Issues discussed include who speaks on behalf of the Jewish people and by virtue of what authority, who leads whom on issues of religion and state, the rescue of Jews, and the setting up of pressure groups and lobbies on behalf of Israel. Students will be presented with a unique opportunity to examine original documents from Israel and abroad.
  • Israel between the Great Powers, 1948-1967 – The course examines the formulation and conduct of Israel's foreign policy and diplomacy from its inception in 1948 to the passing of U.N. Resolution 242 in 1967. We will study and evaluate the dilemmas that Israeli diplomats faced and attempted to resolve by examining original documents and secondary sources.

Dr. Avi Bareli 

  • Zionist and Israeli Political Parties, 1919-1960 – The course will analyze selected issues in the development of Zionist and Israeli political parties, their historical roots, and their inter-relations during Israel's first two decades.
  • Israeli Mamlakhti'yut and Republicanism – The course will deal with the ideological and the philosophical roots of Israeli republicanism (mamlakhti'yut) and will focus on its political, social, and economical aspects, e.g. the concept of civic participation, the State’s monopoly over the use of violence, and socio-economic practice. 
  • The Political Left Wing in Israeli Society – The course will deal with the relationship between nation-building and socialism, and will focus on the early State under a socialist ruling party confronting a socialist party in the opposition.
  • Science, Politics, and Society in Zionism and in Israel
    Science and technology have shaped Western culture and society in the last several hundred years. This course will offer a different understanding of social, political, and cultural processes by illuminating the role of the scientists, experts, theories, instruments, and technologies operating behind the scenes of the Zionist project and Israeli state and society
  • Israel Studies: an Interdisciplinary Perspective
    Israeli state, polity, and society have been examined through the use of a variety of research disciplines, among them history, sociology, political science, social geography, economics, and cultural studies. This seminar shall examine, critically and comparatively, alternative theories and methodologies that have been used to do research on Israel and other cases of nation building
Dr. Michael Feige 


  • The Past in the Present: Collective Memory in Israel – Zionism and the State of Israel stress the continuity between past events - from biblical times, through the years of exile to the Holocaust and Israel's wars – to contemporary society and politics. The course will explore the presence of the past in today's Israel by focusing on conflicting narratives, historiography, monuments, museums, archaeological excavations, and other cultural expressions.
  • From Settlement to Disengagement? Israel and the Occupied Territories – The Israeli occupation of 1967 changed the contours of Israeli public discourse and shaped the history of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. In this course, the ideological Jewish settlements in the West Bank, one crucial aspect of the occupation, will be described, discussed, and analyzed.
  • Visions and Divisions: the Sociology of Israel – This course examines the main divisions in Israeli society - national, ethnic, religious, gender – in light of the Zionist communal ideology. The basic logic organizing the lives of various social groups in Israel will be critically discussed and analyzed.

Dr. Tuvia Friling 


  • David Ben-Gurion, 1935-1965: 30 Years of Strategic Decisions
    The course will reveal, analyze, and assess Ben Gurion's leadership as it was realized through his strategic decisions. The chronological framework of the course is from 1935 to 1965, from Ben Gurion's appointment as the head of the Jewish Agency until after his retirement from his position as Prime Minister and Minister of Defense. The workshop will focus on three main issues: A. theoretical analysis of modules of democratic leadership. B. Ben – Gurion as a test case of a democratic leader who operated in a continuous crisis situation, and C. The methodological challenges that stem from the research workshop based on a rich archival environment
  • Examining the Stereotype: The Yishuv, the State of Israel and the Holocaust- The purpose of the course is to describe and analyze the intellectual discourse and the historiography on the Yishuv’s role in saving the Jews from Europe during the Holocaust.
    The chronological framework will be from Hitler’s coming to power through the Second War World and its aftermath, the Grunwald trial (“Kastner Trial”), until the present time.


Dr. Paula Kabalo 


  • Israel's Youth: Roles and Images of Young People in the Jewish Nation-Building Process – The history of Zionism and Israel is revealed through the lens of young people - teenagers and young adults. This stratum of society played a prominent role in the Jewish national movement (students, revolutionaries, pioneers), and thereafter served in the military forces and, to a great extent, shaped the image of the Israeli archetype. Using personal writings, literature, popular culture, and cinematic sources, the course will follow young people's actions, expressions, expectations, and images.
  • Third Sector and Civil Society in Israel – Theories and History – "Third sector" is a general term that refers to the group of voluntary and nonprofit organizations present in State and society. Such organizations existed in Israel and Mandatory Palestine throughout the years and were strongly inspired by the religious backgrounds of the Jewish/Christian/Muslim inhabitants of the region. The course will shed light on the phenomenon as a whole within its conceptual and theoretical framework, while focusing on the development of the sector throughout Israeli history.
  • The Birth of a State: Israel, 1945-1955 – The course sheds light on the intensive years preceding and following the establishment of the State of Israel. During these years, the Jewish community developed its sovereign institutions, struggled with internal and external conflicts, and handled a demographic revolution. Students will explore these developments using archival sources, personal accounts, and a variety of research perspectives.
  • The Historiography of 1948 – the Struggle of Narratives – The 1948 Israeli War of Independence led to an ongoing historiographic debate that reflects not only the conflicting narratives between observers attempting to represent different actors at the scene of events, but also different dimensions in the course of the war itself: battle fields, internal and external politics, home front, commemoration, and memory.  The course will focus not only on the diversity of narratives, but also on the distinction between the historical event per se and its interpretations in retrospect.
  • 1948: History, Historiography and Memory
    The Israeli War of Independence (the 1948 Arab Israeli War) has attracted public and academic interest throughout the years. The growing literature on the War includes historiography, autobiographies, and fiction that reflect diverse interpretations and aspects of the events that took place during 1948 and in its aftermath. This MA research seminar will reveal and discuss the various layers of historiography and will investigate the personal literature and the cultural artifacts that evolved from this foundational experience.

Dr. Nahum Karlinsky 


  • Jewish Fundamentalism: between Fears and Intolerance – The course will examine two major expressions of contemporary Jewish culture: the Haredi-Fundamentalist community and the Jewish-Zealotist one. The theological, social, and cultural differences between these groups will be examined and discussed
  • Economy and Society in Mandatory Palestine – Foundations for the future State of Israel were laid down during the period of the British Mandate on Palestine (1918-1948). This was also a period in which the two national groups, the Palestinian-Arab and the Zionist-Jew, lived under a common, third, rule. We will examine these founding elements and explore some of the roads not taken by the parties.
  • The Struggle for Israeli Identity: From the "New Jew" to Multiculturalism – The object of this course is to examine the vague notion of Israeliness. The concepts of personal and collective identities will stand at the heart of our discussion.  A broad array of genres and modes of expression, such as literature, popular music, film, documentaries, and art will be employed.


Dr. Gideon Katz 


  • Secularism and Traditionalism in an Israeli Context: a Philosophical Analysis – In this course, we will examine the Zionist paradigm about inventing Hebrew culture, the Spinozistic view of culture and tradition, and the links between these ideas and the problems of secular identity in Israeli society.
  • State and Religion: A Historical and Ideological Perspective – The course will focus on the historical and philosophical aspects of the relationship between state and religion in Israel. Among the topics that will be discussed in this course are: the notion of separating state and religion; Israel as a democratic-Jewish state; the polemic on "who is a Jew?," and more.
  • Jews, Judaism, and Jewish Nationality in Modern Times
    The course discusses the evolution of Jewish national thinking. We will read Spinoza's notes on the Jewish state and study the anti-Zionist view of Dubnow as well as articles written by Zionist thinkers and by Israeli intellectuals.


Dr. Esther Meir 


  • Israel and the Mass Immigrations – Israel is a unique case of an immigrant society based on ethnic and religious origins. This course will focus on the immigration policy of Israel and its implementations on various groups, such as Holocaust survivors, immigrants from Islamic countries, and immigrants from the former Soviet Union and Ethiopia.
  • The Mizrachim in Israel – The course will examine the historical and sociological research of the Mizrachim in Israel. It will present theories of ethnicity and discuss their relevance to the Israeli case. Some of the topics to be discussed are absorption policy, protest politics and resistance, residential locations, the Mizrachim in research and Mizrachi representation in Israeli art.
  • Jewish Women in Changing Societies – The transition from traditional to modern society changes the life of women as a consequence of demographic, social, and cultural developments. In this course we will study the Jewish woman's experience from its many vantage points by comparing the changes in women's lives in various countries in the Middle East, North Africa, and the State of Israel.
  • Jews in Islamic countries: Zionism, Arab Nationalism and Colonialism
    The course addresses the coping strategies of the Jewish communities in Islamic countries regarding conflicts and dilemmas in the 20th century. We will discuss social and cultural conflicts between tradition and modernity, religion and secularism, including women's status. In the political field, we will discuss the Jewish reaction to colonialism, Arab nationalism and Zionism. We will focus on Zionist education, legal and illegal immigration to Israel, and the activity of defense organizations. Finally, we will discuss the connection between Zionism and aliya.

Prof. David Ohana 


  • New Trends in Historiography and the Social Sciences – This course focuses on the theoretical framework and methodologies  of the major trends in humanities and social sciences today.  In addition, it explores and elaborates on the works of thinkers such as Marx, Rousseau, Foucault, and others, and discusses their relevance to Israel studies and the understanding of the Israeli experience.
  • The Israeli Intellectuals – from Leibovitz to Resling – The course traces the historical and sociological genealogy of Israel's intellectuals from the establishment of the State until the present time. It also examines the role of intellectuals in the public sphere and their contribution to Israel's culture.


Dr. Kobi Peled


  • Past Continuous: The Political Uses of the Past in Contemporary Israeli, Palestinian, and Middle Eastern- Societies – The subject of this course is the controversial presence of the past within the present. We will explore the different ways in which the past is molded to suit the needs of the present. We will take a close look at the means of shaping the past in order to explain the present and recruit the masses for political action. We will discuss political myths, rituals and symbols, and in particular the artistic and architectural dimensions of commemoration. Most of the examples will be taken from Israeli, Palestinian, and Middle Eastern societies, and some from Europe and America.
  • Space as Text: Israeli and Palestinian Societies from an Architectural Perspective – The purpose of this course is to explore the complicated relations between society and space, and to develop an intellectual perceptiveness of the social, cultural, and political dimensions of the constructed environment in the study of Israeli and Palestinian societies. The course will include a brief theoretical introduction, followed by an analysis of diverse case studies that deal with spatial characteristics of the social fabric. Thus, it will provide a broad sampling of significant questions in this field of knowledge and a comprehensive discussion of a variety of examples, employing sociological thought, anthropological theory, historical research, and geographical analysis. 
  • The Poetics and Politics of History and Anthropology in Middle Eastern Societies
    In the first part of this course, we will read anthropological studies that are considered to be classics and are highly relevant to understanding Middle Eastern societies. In the second part, we will read historical masterpieces and examine their contribution to our understanding of the Middle East. We will discuss together the methods, theories, and problems of both disciplines, and examine their border lines and points of intersection.


Prof. Moshe Shemesh 


  • The Arab-Israeli Conflict between Wars and Settlements, 1948-1974 – The course will discuss the major developments of the Arab-Israeli conflict between the 1948 War and Yom Kippur War (1973), emphasizing the changes that occurred in Arab attitudes towards Israel. We will study the background of the Arab-Israeli Wars (1956, 1967, 1973) and their repercussions and impact upon the conflict. The attempts to solve the conflict will also be debated, as will the rise of the new Palestinian national movement during the sixties. 
  • The Emergence and Development of the Palestinian National Movement – The aim of the course is to study the process of the Palestinian national awakening and the emergence of the Palestinian national movement and its struggle against the Zionist movement and the British Mandate. We will discuss central events in this struggle: the events of 1920-1921, 1929, the Arab revolt 1936-1939, and the White Paper of May 1939. The rise of the Mufti to the leadership of the Palestinian National Movement and his fall after the 1948 War will also be discussed.


Dr. Ofer Shiff

  • Historical and Contemporary Perspectives on the Relations between Israel and the Jewish World – The goal of this introductory course is to analyze the complex and often self-contradictory definitions of Zionism through an historical examination of the relations between Israel and the Diaspora. The course will focus on basic Zionist concepts, such as "shlilat hagalut" (negation of the exile), "New Jews," and "haluziut" (pioneering), and will attempt to tell the history of Israeli-Diaspora relations by examining the development and various interpretations of these concepts.
  • Zionism and the Questions of Anti-Semitism – a Comparative pre- and post-1948 Study – This seminar attempts to examine the impact of the Holocaust and the birth of the State of Israel on the Zionist discourse, particularly its treatment and definition of anti-Semitism. Students will analyze the writings of various Zionist thinkers in both periods, attempting to assess the extent of the change and its various directions in Israel and the Diaspora.
  • The "Stories" of the Warsaw Ghetto Rebellion – The Evolution of Holocaust Consciousness in Israel – This seminar attempts to examine the changes in Holocaust consciousness by analyzing various memoirs that were written in different periods and locations by Holocaust survivors who participated in the Warsaw Ghetto rebellion. By treating the memoirs as expressions of the changing dialogue between Holocaust survivors and their social environment, the students will examine the changes and development in basic concepts related to Holocaust discourse, such as heroism, resistance, Jewish honor, as well as in the understanding of various particular and universal lessons. 
  • Israel in the Jewish World - Past, Present, and Future Trends
    The course will examine the changing perceptions and images of Israel from 1948 to date, as seen from the perspective of various Jewish diasporas. The course will explore the complex dialogue between Israel's developing history and the changing status of Diaspora Jews within their non-Jewish surroundings. Focusing on American Jewry as the largest Diaspora community, the course will nevertheless discuss other Jewish diasporas, including those in Russia, Western Europe, and South America.

Dr. Zvi Shiloni
  •  How is a Country Settled? Historical Geography of Israel – The course will present the research field of historical geography. It will train the students to use its research methods, such as maps and aerial photos. The course will discuss the development of the settlement system of Israel between the years 1882 and 1967.
Dr. Tali Tadmor Shimoni 
  • The National Hebrew Education System from the 1880s to the 1960s – The National Hebrew Education set out to serve as an agent of Zionist ideology. This course will follow the construction of the National Hebrew Education system in Eretz Israel from the 1880s to the 1960s. The course will focus on the following subjects: the development of the educational system (kindergarten, elementary school, high school, and higher education); the ideological structure of Hebrew education, and the creation of youth culture in Eretz Israel
  • The School Playground as an Absorption Arena – This course deals with various interpretations of national culture and identity of veteran Israelis and new immigrants through the lens of Israeli education. In the 1950s, immigrant pupils represented almost half of the student body and about one fifth of the State teachers were new immigrants. The course will address different issues, including: the immigrant teacher's coping with the absorption process on the one hand, and their role as representatives of the establishment on the other hand, and a survey of schools in the immigrant communities.
Prof. Hanna Yablonka (Department of Jewish History)
  • The Mizrachim and the Holocaust – Three generations of Mizrachim and their means of connecting with the destruction of the European Jews form one of the hard cores of Israel's national identity. The time frame stretches from 1933 to 2006.
  • Jurisdiction and Memory - The Nuremberg, Kastner, Eichmann, and Auschwitz Trials – Jurisdiction and memory - The dialogue between legislation and jurisdiction and the public discourse as examined through the Nuremberg trials, the kapo trials, the Eichmann trial, and the Demyanuk trial. A comparative analysis of law and history and a perspective on the reciprocal impact the law and public discourse have on one another.
Dr. Yaakov Garb 
  • Israel as a Multicultural Society– This reading course will introduce students to the variety of ethnic, national, class, religious, and immigrant groups that live in Israel today, and to the ways in which social scientists are addressing the positions of these groups within Israeli society.  Special emphasis will be place on how the phenomena discussed play out in Beer-Sheva and the Negev.

Research Students' Seminar and Colloquium
Experts in Israel studies from different universities present the latest up-to-date scholarship, at the weekly researchers' seminar – Bimat Sede Boqer. The evolution of Israel's history, culture, society, and politics is discussed and analyzed. ISIP students take place in the discussions and participate in presenting their own research. A separate colloquium for graduate students will provide guidelines for research and feedback from peers and faculty members.