SOAS University of London

Department of Politics and International Studies

Palestine/Israel and the International

Module Code:
FHEQ Level:
Year of study:
Year 3 of 3 or Year 4 of 4
Taught in:
Term 1

This module 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.

This module is capped at 30 students.

Objectives and learning outcomes of the module

At the end of the module, 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.


  • 2 hour lecture per week

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

This module is assessed by a 2,000 word essay worth 40% and a 3,000 word essay worth 60%.


Important notice regarding changes to programmes and modules