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Department of Politics and International Studies

Critical Issues in Israeli Politics and Society

Course Code:
153400087
Unit value:
0.5
Year of study:
Year 3 of 3 or Year 4 of 4
Taught in:
Term 1

The course is meant to provide students with relevant tools to undertake critical study of Israeli politics and society in both historical and contemporary terms. It focuses on events, developments, processes and trends in Israeli politics, and provides students with the ability to consider these in relation to theories and frameworks on political science.

Objectives and learning outcomes of the course

At the end of the course, students should be able to demonstrate

  • a critical understanding of the Israeli political system, stakeholders and institutions.
  • an understanding of the main trends, developments and challenges facing the Israeli state.
  • an understanding of the main theoretical approaches for the analysis of the Israeli society and their limitations.
  • a critical approach for the analysis of current political processes in Israel.  
  • ability to apply and evaluate theoretical tools in the analysis on the Israeli case such as nationalism, democracy, settler-colonialism, identity politics, political economy and militarism.

Scope and syllabus

Part I: Conceptualising the Israeli state
  1. What/where is Israel? The boundaries of the ‘Israeli collective’: citizens, residents, Jewish diaspora, immigrants
  2. Israeli state and polity: the ‘Jewish and democratic state’ in critical perspective
  3. Contemporary Zionist ideologies: From the Labour movement to Gush Emunim and back
  4. Palestinians in Israel: citizenship, law and resistance
Part II: Understanding Israeli politics and Society
  1. Post-colonial approaches I – the Mizrahi question in colonial perspective
  2. Post-colonial approach II – colonial legacies and realities: the ‘occupation’, law and land
  3. Israeli militarism and its social and material implications: politics, gender and demography
  4. Political economy: between the colonial and the neo-liberal
Part III: Israeli politics since the 1990s
  1. Changes and developments in the 1990s: from the Russian immigration to the Oslo accords.
  2. Radical politics in Israel: from right to left

Method of assessment

Assessment is made of two 3000 essays (45% each) and 15 minutes class presentation (10%).