History of Zionism

Jewish policemen and members of the Haganah establishing the qibbuts Ḥanitah in the Western Galilee, 1938.
Jewish policemen and members of the Haganah establishing the qibbuts Ḥanitah in the Western Galilee, 1938. [Source: Israeli Government Press Office]

Within the space of less than a century, the Zionist enterprise achieved its ultimate goal of an independent Jewish country, the modern State of Israel. This class examines the important developments of this process, from the initial seeds of Zionism in Nineteenth-Century Europe to the painful birth pangs of the Jewish state amidst the challenges and dangers of the 1948 War, known to Israelis as the ‘War of Independence’. As this course focuses on the rebirth of Israel as a modern reincarnation of an ancient Jewish polity, we will avoid placing excessive attention on the Arab-Israeli conflict, although we will examine the Palestinian-Arab dimension as it relates to the emergence of the Israeli polity. Instead, we will study more carefully historical, political, economic, and social trends within the Zionist community both in the geographic land of Palestine and abroad. We will also touch upon the roots of several contemporary tensions, as well as the creation of the diverse and complex mosaïc of Israel society. By avoiding the ‘conflict prism’, we hope to arrive at a clearer perspective on the origins of the State of Israel, a better appreciation of the events and movements leading up to its establishment, and some ideas regarding Israel, its citizens, and its neighbours today.

Course expectation and student evaluation

This course represents a combination of a lecture and seminar approaches and individual participation in class dialogues is critical. Most classes include a discussion period for conversation about required reading. Each student will have the opportunity to present a brief review of a text, after which he/she will lead a discussion. At the end of this course, it is hoped that students will have not only a better understanding of the development of Zionism and the genesis of the Israeli polity, but have developed better research skills, practiced critical thinking and reading, and gained experience collecting and presenting information clearly.

Course grades will be assigned on the basis of several elements:

  1. in-class quizzes (15% total)—a map quiz and five 5-minute quizzes (lowest grade dropped) on critical terms (e.g., ‘Auto-emancipation’, Balfour Declaration, Chaim Weizmann);
  2. pop reading quizzes (10%)—short, random multiple-choice quizzes on major themes of assigned readings;
  3. mid-term paper (20%)—take-home essay on an assigned topic, using only the class readings as sources (5 pages);
  4. final research paper (30%)—each student will write a research paper (about 15 pages) on a topic of their choice relating to the course and making use of literature (at least 6 sources) not assigned as part of the class reading;
  5. class participation (25%)—contribution to in-class and online discussions and attendance, critical to a successful experience (students with over three absences lose their entire participation grade; each additional two absences result in a letter-grade penalty off of the overall course grade), including also a discussion article presentation, where each student presents at least one required reading, emphasising its core argument and leading a class discussion about it.
This division of factors aims to give all students a fair chance at a good grade by avoiding too much emphasis on one examination method. Nevertheless, since a large share of the grade (25%) derives from participation and the discussion presentation, this means that you must attend and participate in class to get a good grade. The key to good participation is reading the assigned texts, so come prepared!

Extra credit films will be screened periodically throughout the semester. Students are not obligated to attend the five film showings, but if you attend and write a 1-page reaction paper (‘what you thought about the film’), you will earn extra credit that will be applied to your grade for the course. The following films will be shown:

  • ʿAvodah [Labour], directed by Helmar Lerski (Palestine, 1936), 43 min.
  • Hu halakh be-sadot [He walked through fields], directed by Yosef Millo (Israel, 1967), 90 min.
  • Altalena, directed by Ilana Tsur (Israel, 1994), 53 min.
  • Salaḥ Shabbati, directed by Ephraim Kishon (Israel, 1964), 110 min. (Academy Award nominee for Best Foreign Language Film, 1965).
  • ʿAjami, directed by Scandar Copti and Yaron Shani (Israel, 2009), 124 min. (Academy Award nominee for Best Foreign Language Film, 2010).

Required texts

Laqueur, Walter Z. A History of Zionism. New York City: Schocken Books, 2003.

Sachar, Howard Morley. A History of Israel: From the rise of Zionism to our time. 3rd revised and updated ed. New York City: Alfred A Knopf, 2007.

Dowty, Alan. The Jewish state: A Century later. Updated ed. Berkeley & Los Angeles: University of California Press, 2001. [online]

Recommended texts for further readings

The following texts are recommended for those interested in doing further reading on the subject. These books are not required for purchase.

Course outline

Readings from required and recommended books appear in small caps. All other readings include full bibliographical citations and are available electronically on the class website. It is highly recommended that you prepare your readings in advance by downloading and/or printing all of them at the beginning of the course, so that you can concentrate your efforts on reading them during the remainder of the semester. Recall that ‘recommended readings’ are not obligatory, but may be useful when preparing research papers. (Recommended readings with an asterisk (*) are highly encouraged.)

I. Introduction and background

  1. Introduction to Zionism and Israel

  2. Recommended reading:
    • Alex Bein, ‘The Origin of the term and concept “Zionism”’, in Herzl year book: Essays in Zionist history and thought, ed. Raphael Patai (New York City: Herzl Press, 1959), vol. 2, 1-27.
  3. Two millennia of Jewish dispossession

  4. Assigned readings:
    Recommended reading:
    • * William Safran, ‘The Jewish diaspora in comparative and theoretical perspective’, Israel Studies 10.1 (Spring 2005), 36-60.
    • Otto Eissfeldt, ‘The Hebrew kingdom’, in The Cambridge ancient history, ed. Iorwerth Eiddon Stephen Edwards, Cyril John Gadd, Nicholas Geoffrey Lemprière Hammond, and Edmond Solleberger, vol. 2(II), History of the Middle East and the Ægean region c. 1380–1000 B.C. (Cambridge & New York City: Cambridge University Press, 1975), 537-605, 992-1004.
  5. Discussion: Introductory questions and answers

  6. Assigned readings:
    • Asher Arian, Politics in Israel: The Second republic, 2nd ed. (Washington, DC: CQ Press, 2005), 19-47.
    • Ruth Gavison, ‘The Jews’ right to statehood: A Defense’, Azure 15 (Summer 2003/5763), 70-108.
    Recommended reading:
    • Dan Horowitz and Moshe Lissak, Trouble in utopia: The Overburdened polity of Israel, transl. from Hebrew by Charles Hoffman (Albany: State University of New York Press, 1989), 1-97.
  7. Emancipation, modernity, and Jewish identity

  8. Map quiz.
    Assigned readings:
    Recommended reading:
  9. Forerunners of Zionism

  10. Assigned readings:
    Recommended reading:
    • Shimoni, Zionist ideology, 52-82.
    • * Shlomo Avineri, The Making of modern Zionism: The Intellectual origins of the Jewish state (New York City: Basic Books, 1981), 47-55.
    • Jacob Katz, ‘The Forerunners of Zionism’, in Essential papers on Zionism, ed. Jehuda Reinharz and Anita Shapira (New York City: New York University Press, 1996), 33-45.
  11. Discussion: Change and continuity in Zionism

  12. Assigned readings:
    Recommended reading:
    • * Dowty, Jewish state, 19-60. [online]
    • Aron Rodrigue, ‘Jewish enlightenment and nationalism in the Ottoman Balkans: Barukh Mitrani in Edirne in the second half of the Nineteenth Century’, in Minorities in the Ottoman Empire, ed. Molly Greene (Princeton: Markus Wiener Publishers, 2005), 129-143.
    • Yosef Salmon, ‘The Rise of Jewish nationalism on the border of Eastern and Western Europe: Rabbi Z. H. Kalischer, David Gordon, Peretz Smolenskin’, in Danzig, between East and West: Aspects of modern Jewish history, ed. Isadore Twersky, Harvard Judaic texts and studies, 4 (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1985), 121-137.
  13. Ottoman Palestine and the Old Yishuv

  14. Assigned readings:
    • Jacob Barnai, ‘The Jews of the Ottoman Empire in the Seventeenth and Eighteenth Centuries’, in Moreshet Sepharad: The Sephardi legacy, ed. Haim Beinart, vol. 2 (Jerusalem: Magnes Press, Hebrew University, 1992), 134-165.
    • Moshe Maoz, ‘Changing relations between Jews, Muslims, and Christians during the Nineteenth Century, with special reference to Ottoman Syria and Palestine’, in Jews, Turks, Ottomans: A Shared history, Fifteenth through the Twentieth Century, ed. Avigdor Levy, 1st ed. (Syracuse: Syracuse University Press, 2002), 108-118.
    • Isaiah Friedman, ‘The System of Capitulations and its effect on Turco-Jewish relations in Palestine, 1856–1897’, in Palestine in the late Ottoman period: Political, social, and economic transformation, ed. David Kushner (Jerusalem: Yad Izhak Ben-Zvi, 1986), 280-293.
    • David Saul Landes, ‘Palestine before the Zionists’, Commentary 61.2 (February 1976), 47-56.
    Recommended reading:
    • Israel Kolatt, ‘The Organization of the Jewish population of Palestine and the development of its political consciousness before World War I’, in Studies in Palestine during the Ottoman period, ed. Moshe Maoz (Jerusalem: Magnes Press, Hebrew University, 1975), 211-245.
    • Ruth Kark, ‘Changing patterns of landownership in Nineteenth-Century Palestine: The European influence’, Journal of Historical Geography 10.4 (October 1984), 357-384.
    • Matthias B Lehmann, ‘Rethinking Sephardi identity: Jews and other Jews in Ottoman Palestine’, Jewish Social Studies n.s. 15.1 (Fall 2008), 81-109.
  15. Early Zionist pioneering

  16. Assigned readings:
    • Sachar, History, 18-35.
    • Shlomo Avineri, The Making of modern Zionism: The Intellectual origins of the Jewish state (New York City: Basic Books, 1981), 83-87.
    • Neville J Mandel, ‘Turks, Arabs and Jewish immigration into Palestine, 1882–1914’, in Middle Eastern Affairs, ed. Albert Habib Hourani, vol. 4 (London: Chatto and Windus, 1965), 77-108.
    • Esther Benbassa, ‘Zionism in the Ottoman empire at the end of the 19th and the beginning of the 20th Century’, Studies in Zionism 11.2 (Autumn 1990), 127-140.
    Recommended reading:

II. The Rise of the Zionist movement

  1. Herzl and the rise of political Zionism

  2. Assigned readings:
    Recommended reading:
  3. Political vs practical Zionism

  4. First quiz on key terms.
    Assigned readings:
    Recommended reading:
  5. Discussion: Zionism in the age of nationalism

  6. Assigned readings:
    • Hedva Ben-Israel, ‘Zionism and European nationalisms: Comparative aspects’, Israel Studies 8.1 (Spring 2003), 91-104.
    • Michelle U Campos, ‘Between “Beloved Ottomania” and “The Land of Israel”: The Struggle over Ottomanism and Zionism among Palestine’s Sephardi Jews, 1908–13’, International Journal of Middle East Studies 37.4 (November 2005), 461-483.
    • Chaim Rabin, ‘The National idea and the revival of Hebrew’, Studies in Zionism 4.1 (Spring 1983), 31-48.
    Recommended reading:
    • * George L Mosse, ‘Can nationalism be saved? About Zionism, rightful and unjust nationalism’, Israel Studies 2.1 (Spring 1997), 156-173.
    • Edward Yechezkel Kutscher, ‘The Role of Modern Hebrew in the development of Jewish-Israeli national consciousness’, Publications of the Modern Language Association 72.2 (April 1957), 38-42.
    • Anthony D Smith, ‘Nationalism and religion: The Role of religious reform in the genesis of Arab and Jewish nationalism’, Archives de sciences sociales des religions 18.35 (January–June 1973), 23-43.
    • Yaacov Shavit, ‘The “Glorious century” or the “cursed century”: Fin-de-siècle Europe and the emergence of modern Jewish nationalism’, Journal of Contemporary History 26.3–4 (September 1991), 553-574.
  7. The Conquest of Labour, I: Working the land

  8. Assigned readings:
    Extra credit film
    • Avodah [Labour], directed by Helmar Lerski (Palestine, 1936), 43 min.
  9. The Conquest of Labour, II: The Political scene

  10. Assigned readings:
    Recommended reading:
    • Shimoni, Zionist ideology, 166-235.
    • Moshe Lissak, ‘Strategies of class formation: The Case of the Labour movement in the Jewish community of Palestine, 1918–1948’, in Comparative social dynamics: Essays in honour of S.N. Eisenstadt, ed. Erik Cohen, Moshe Lissak, and Uri Almagor (Boulder: Westview Press, 1985), 245-261.
  11. Zionist ideological trends

  12. Assigned readings:
    Recommended reading:

III. The Development of Zionist institutions and ideology

  1. The First World War and the Yishuv

  2. Assigned readings:
    Recommended reading:
    • Laqueur, History, 171-205.
    • Mayir Vereté, ‘The Balfour Declaration and its makers’, Middle Eastern Studies 6.1 (January 1970), 48-76.
    • Mark Levene, ‘The Balfour Declaration: A Case of mistaken identity’, English Historical Review 107.422 (January 1992), 54-77.
    • D Z Gillon, ‘The Antecedents of the Balfour Declaration’, Middle Eastern Studies 5.2 (May 1969), 131-150.
  3. British Mandate and Jewish Yishuv

  4. Assigned readings:
  5. Imagining a Jewish state

  6. Assigned readings:
    Recommended reading:
    • Zeev Sternhell, The Founding myths of Israel: Nationalism, socialism, and the making of the Jewish state, transl. from Hebrew by David Maisel (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1998), 3-46.
    • Charles S Liebman and Eliezer Don-Yehiya, Civil religion in Israel: Traditional Judaism and political culture in the Jewish state (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1983), 1-24.
  7. Discussion: Zionist symbols, memories, and myths

  8. Assigned readings:
    • Yael Zerubavel, Recovered roots: Collective memory and the making of Israeli national tradition (Chicago & London: University of Chicago Press, 1995), 39-76.
    • Charles S Liebman and Eliezer Don-Yehiya, Civil religion in Israel: Traditional Judaism and political culture in the Jewish state (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1983), 25-58.
    • Oz Almog, The Sabra: The Creation of the new Jew, transl. from Hebrew by Haim Watzman (Berkeley & Los Angeles & London: University of California Press, 2000), 35-45, 255-266.
    • Nachman Ben-Yehuda, The Masada myth: Collective memory and mythmaking in Israel (Madison: University of Wisconsin Press, 1995), 228-258.
    Recommended reading:
  9. Zionist settlement patterns

  10. Second quiz on key terms.
    Assigned readings:
    Recommended reading:
    Extra credit film
  11. Tel-Aviv: The ‘First Hebrew city’

  12. Assigned readings:
    • Troen, Imagining Zion, 85-111.
    • Anat Helman, ‘East or west? Tel-Aviv in the 1920s and 1930s’, in People of the city: Jews and the urban challenge, ed. Ezra Mendelsohn, Studies in contemporary Jewry, 15 (New York City & Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1999), 68-79.
    • Anat Helman, ‘“Even the dogs in the street bark in Hebrew”: National ideology and everyday culture in Tel-Aviv’, Jewish Quarterly Review 92.3–4 (January–April 2002), 359-382.
    Recommended reading:
    • * Mark LeVine, ‘Conquest through town planning: The Case of Tel Aviv, 1921–48’, Journal of Palestine Studies 27.4 (Summer 1998), 36-52.
    • Deborah S Bernstein, ‘Contested contact: Proximity and social control in pre-1948 Jaffa and Tel-Aviv’, in Mixed towns, trapped communities: Historical narratives, spatial dynamics, gender relations and cultural encounters in Palestinian-Israeli towns, ed. Daniel Monterescu and Dan Rabinowitz (Aldershot, UK: Ashgate Publishing, 2007), 215-241.
    • Yossi Katz, ‘Ideology and urban development: Zionism and the origins of Tel-Aviv, 1906–1914’, Journal of Historical Geography 12.4 (October 1986), 402-424.
    • Volker M Welter, ‘The 1925 master plan for Tel-Aviv by Patrick Geddes’, Israel Studies 14.3 (Fall 2009), 94-119.
    • Yoram Bar-Gal, ‘From “European oasis” to downtown New York: The Image of Tel-Aviv in school textbooks’, Israel Studies 14.3 (Fall 2009), 21-37.
    • Maoz Azaryahu, ‘Tel Aviv: Center, periphery and the cultural geographies of an aspiring metropolis’, Social & Cultural Geography 9.3 (May 2008), 303-318.
  13. Discussion: Colonisation or colonialism?

  14. Assigned readings:
    • Ran Aaronsohn, ‘Settlement in Eretz Israel—A Colonialist enterprise? “Critical” scholarship and historical geography’, Israel Studies 1.2 (Fall 1996), 214-229.
    • Uri Ram, ‘The Colonization perspective in Israeli sociology’, in The Israel/Palestine question, ed. Ilan Pappé (London & New York City: Routledge, 1999), 55-80.
    • Gershon Shafir, ‘Zionism and colonialism: A Comparative approach’, in The Israel/Palestine question, ed. Ilan Pappé (London & New York City: Routledge, 1999), 81-96.
    Recommended reading:
  15. Jewish-Arab relations in Mandatory Palestine

  16. Assigned readings:
    Recommended reading:
  17. Jewish-British relations in Mandatory Palestine

  18. Assigned readings:
    Recommended reading:
    • * Yehuda Bauer, ‘From cooperation to resistance: The Haganah 1938–1946’, Middle Eastern Studies 2.3 (April 1966), 182-210.
    • Arieh J Kochavi, ‘The Struggle against Jewish immigration to Palestine’, Middle Eastern Studies 34.3 (July 1998), 146-167.
    • Gabriel Sheffer, ‘Intentions and results of British policy in Palestine: Passfield’s White Paper’, Middle Eastern Studies 9.1 (January 1973), 43-60.
    • Gabriel Sheffer, ‘British colonial policy-making towards Palestine (1929–1939)’, Middle Eastern Studies 14.3 (October 1978), 307-322.
    • T G Fraser, ‘A Crisis of leadership: Weizmann and the Zionist reactions to the Peel Commission’s proposals, 1937–8’, Journal of Contemporary History 23.4 (October 1988), 657-680.
  19. Discussion: Jewish-Arab co-operation and conflict

  20. Assigned readings:
    • Alan Dowty, ‘“A Question that outweighs all others”: Yitzhak Epstein and Zionist recognition of the Arab issue’, Israel Studies 6.1 (Spring 2001), 34-54. [Primary source]
    • Alan Dowty, ‘Much ado about little: Ahad Ha’am’s “Truth from Eretz Yisrael”, Zionism, and the Arabs’, Israel Studies 5.2 (Summer 2000), 154-181. [Primary source]
    • Israel Kolatt, ‘The Zionist movement and the Arabs’, in Essential papers on Zionism, ed. Jehuda Reinharz and Anita Shapira (New York City: New York University Press, 1996), 617-647.
    Recommended reading:
  21. The Jewish Yishuv and the Holocaust

  22. Mid-term paper due.
    Assigned readings:
    Recommended reading:

IV. The Rebirth of Israel

  1. Towards the partition of Palestine

  2. Assigned readings:
    Recommended reading:
    • Laqueur, History, 564-588.
    • Sir Alan Cunningham, ‘Palestine—The Last days of the Mandate’, International Affairs 24.4 (October 1948), 481-490. [Primary source]
    • * Joseph Heller, ‘“Neither Masada—Nor Vichy”: Diplomacy and resistance in Zionist politics, 1945–1947’, International History Review 3.4 (October 1981), 540-564.
    • Amitzur Ilan, ‘Withdrawal without recommendations: Britain’s decision to relinquish the Palestine Mandate, 1947’, in Zionism and Arabism in Palestine and Israel, ed. Elie Kedourie and Sylvia G Haim (London & Totowa, New Jersey: Frank Cass, 1982), 183-209.
  3. Discussion: Alternative Zionisms

  4. Assigned readings:
    Recommended reading:
    • * Yaacov Shavit, The New Hebrew nation: A Study in Israeli heresy and fantasy (London & Totowa, New Jersey: Frank Cass, 1987), 77-130.
    • James S Diamond, Homeland or Holy Land? The “Canaanite” critique of Israel (Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1986), 1-8, 117-124.
    • George L Mosse, ‘Can nationalism be saved? About Zionism, rightful and unjust nationalism’, Israel Studies 2.1 (Spring 1997), 156-173.
    • Yfaat Weiss, ‘Central European ethnonationalism and Zionist binationalism’, Jewish Social Studies 11.1 (Autumn 2004), 93-117.
    • Shalom Ratzabi, ‘The Political-cultural background of Central European intellectuals in Brith Shalom’, Journal of Israeli History 18.1 (Spring 1997): 1-27.
    • Tamar Hermann, ‘The Bi-national idea in Israel/Palestine: Past and present’, Nations and Nationalism 11.3 (July 2005), 381-401.
  5. The 1948 War

  6. Assigned readings:
    Recommended reading:
  7. Discussion: Debating the 1948 War

  8. Assigned readings:
    Recommended reading:
    • Benny Morris, ‘The Causes and character of the Arab exodus from Palestine: The Israel Defence Forces Intelligence Branch analysis of June 1948’, Middle Eastern Studies 22.1 (January 1986), 5-19.
    • Alon Kadish and Avraham Sela, ‘Myths and historiography of the 1948 Palestine War revisited: The Case of Lydda’, Middle East Journal 59.4 (Autumn 2005), 617-634.
    Extra credit film
    • Altalena, directed by Ilana Tsur (Israel, 1994), 53 min.
  9. Discussion: Remembering the 1948 War

  10. Research paper topic due.
    Assigned readings:
    • Benny Morris, ‘The New historiography: Israel confronts its past’, in Making Israel, ed. Benny Morris (Ann Arbor: University of Michigan, 2007), 11-28.
    • Mordechai Bar-On, ‘Remembering 1948: Personal recollections, collective memory, and the search for “what really happened”’, in Making Israel, ed. Benny Morris (Ann Arbor: University of Michigan, 2007), 29-46.
    • Avi Shlaim, ‘The Debate about 1948’, in Making Israel, ed. Benny Morris (Ann Arbor: University of Michigan, 2007), 124-146.
    Recommended reading:
    • * Avraham Sela, ‘Arab historiography of the 1948 War: The Quest for legitimacy’, in New perspectives on Israeli history: The Early years of the State, ed. Laurence Jay Silberstein (New York City: New York University Press, 1991), 124-154.
    • * Benny Morris, ‘The Historiography of Deir Yassin’, Journal of Israeli History 24.1 (March 2005), 79-107.
    • Anita Shapira, ‘Hirbet Hizah: Between remembrance and forgetting’, Jewish Social Studies n.s. 7.1 (Fall 2000), 1-62.
    • Joseph Heller, ‘Alternative narratives and collective memories: Israel’s New Historians and the use of historical context’, Middle Eastern Studies 42.4 (July 2006), 571-586.
    • Ahmad H Saʾdi, ‘Catastrophe, memory and identity: Al-Nakbah as a component of Palestinian identity’, Israel Studies 7.2 (Summer 2002), 175-198.
  11. The Establishment of the Israeli republic

  12. Assigned readings:
    Recommended reading:
    • Charles S Liebman and Eliezer Don-Yehiya, Civil religion in Israel: Traditional Judaism and political culture in the Jewish state (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1983), 123-166.
    • Samuel Sager, ‘Israel’s provisional state council and government’, Middle Eastern Studies 14.1 (January 1978), 91-101.
    • Ze’ev Drori, ‘Utopia in uniform’, in Israel: The First decade of independence, ed. S Ilan Troen and Noah Lucas (Albany: State University of New York Press, 1995), 593-613.
    • Moshe Lissak, ‘The Civilian components of Israel’s security doctrine: The Evolution of civil-military relations in the first decade’, in Israel: The First decade of independence, ed. S Ilan Troen and Noah Lucas (Albany: State University of New York Press, 1995), 575-591.
  13. The Ingathering of the exiles

  14. Assigned readings:
    Recommended reading:
    • * Moshe Lissak, ‘The Demographic-social revolution in Israel in the 1950s: The Absorption of the great aliyah’, Journal of Israeli History 22.2 (Autumn 2003), 1-31.
    • Zvi Zameret, The Melting pot in Israel: The Commission of inquiry concerning education in the immigrant camps during the early years of the State (Albany: State University of New York Press, 2002), 19-40.
    • Yaron Tsur, ‘Carnival fears: Moroccan immigrants and the ethnic problem in the young state of Israel’, Journal of Israeli History 18.1 (Spring 1997), 73-103.
    • Alex Weingrod, ‘Styles of ethnic adaptation: Interpreting Iraqi and Moroccan settlement in Israel’, in Israel: The First decade of independence, ed. S Ilan Troen and Noah Lucas (Albany: State University of New York Press, 1995), 523-542.
    • Sammy Smooha, ‘The Mass immigrations to Israel: A Comparison of the failure of the Mizrahi immigrants of the 1950s with the success of the Russian immigrants of the 1990s’, Journal of Israeli History 27.1 (March 2008), 1-27.
    Extra credit film
    • Salaḥ Shabbati, directed by Ephraim Kishon (Israel, 1964), 110 min. (Academy Award nominee for Best Foreign Language Film, 1965).
  15. Discussion: Ben-Gurion and mamlakhtiyut

  16. Assigned readings:
    • Dowty, Jewish state, 61-84. [online]
    • Shlomo Avineri, The Making of modern Zionism: The Intellectual origins of the Jewish state (New York City: Basic Books, 1981), 198-216.
    • Eliezer Don-Yehiya, ‘Political religion in a new state: Ben-Gurion’s mamlachtiyut’, in Israel: The First decade of independence, ed. S Ilan Troen and Noah Lucas (Albany: State University of New York Press, 1995), 171-194.
    Recommended reading:
    • Charles S Liebman and Eliezer Don-Yehiya, Civil religion in Israel: Traditional Judaism and political culture in the Jewish state (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1983), 81-122.
    • Nir Kedar, ‘Ben-Gurion’s mamlakhtiyut: Etymological and theoretical roots’, Israel Studies 7.3 (Fall 2002), 117-133.
    • Avi Bareli, ‘Mamlakhtiyut, capitalism and socialism during the 1950s in Israel’, Journal of Israeli History 26.2 (September 2007), 201-227.
    • Nir Kedar, ‘A Civilian commander in chief: Ben-Gurion’s mamlakhtiyut, the army and the law’, Israel Affairs 14.2 (April 2008), 202-217.

V. Roots of contemporary Israeli tensions

  1. Religious tensions within Israel

  2. Third quiz on key terms.
    Assigned readings:
    Recommended reading:
    • * Aviezer Ravitzky, Messianism, Zionism, and Jewish religious radicalism, transl. from Hebrew by Michael Swirsky and Jonathan Chipman (Chicago & London: University of Chicago Press, 1996), 79-144.
    • Eliezer Don-Yehiya, ‘Religious leaders in the political arena: The Case of Israel’, Middle Eastern Studies 20.2 (April 1984), 154-171.
    • Charles S Liebman and Bernard Susser, ‘Judaism and Jewishness in the Jewish state’, Annals of the American Academy of Political and Social Science 555 (January 1998), 15-25.
    • Zvi Zameret, ‘Judaism in Israel: Ben-Gurion’s private beliefs and public policy’, Israel Studies 4.2 (Fall 1999), 64-89.
    • Omar Kamil, ‘The Synagogue as civil society, or how we can understand the Shas Party’, Mediterranean Quarterly 12.3 (Summer 2001), 128-143.
  3. Ethnic tensions among Jewish-Israelis

  4. Assigned readings:
    Recommended reading:
    • Alex Weingrod, ‘Ehud Barak’s apology: Letters from the Israeli press’, Israel Studies 3.2 (Fall 1998), 238-252.
    • Motti Regev, ‘Musica mizrakhit, Israeli rock and national culture in Israel’, Popular Music 15.3 (October 1996), 275-284.
    • Vladimir Zeʾev Khanin, ‘Russian-Jewish political experience in Israel: Patterns, elites and movements’, Israel Affairs 17.1 (January 2011), 55-71.
    • Gershon Shafir and Yoav Peled, Being Israeli: The Dynamics of multiple citizenship, Cambridge Middle East Studies, 16 (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2002), 308-334.
    • Durrenda Ojanuga, ‘The Ethiopian Jewish experience as blacks in Israel’, Journal of Black Studies 24.2 (December 1999), 147-158.
  5. Palestinian-Israelis: History, rights, and identity

  6. Assigned readings:
    Recommended reading:
    • * Elie Rekhess, ‘The Evolvement of an Arab–Palestinian national minority in Israel’, Israel Studies 12.3 (Fall 2007), 1-28.
    • Alisa Rubin Peled, ‘The Other side of 1948: The Forgotten benevolence of Bechor Shalom Shitrit and the Ministry of Minority Affairs’, Israel Affairs 8.3 (Spring 2002), 84-103.
    • Dov Waxman, ‘A Dangerous divide: The Deterioration of Jewish-Palestinian relations in Israel’, Middle East Journal 66.1 (Winter 2012), 11-29.
    • Tamir Sorek, ‘Arab football in Israel as an “integrative enclave”’, Ethnic and Racial Studies 26.3 (May 2003), 422-450.
    • Asʾad Ghanem, ‘The Bi-national state solution’, Israel Studies 14.2 (Summer 2009), 120-133.
    Extra credit film
    • ʿAjami, directed by Scandar Copti and Yaron Shani (Israel, 2009), 124 min. (Academy Award nominee for Best Foreign Language Film, 2010).
  7. Political tensions and the Jewish/democratic debate

  8. Assigned readings:
    Recommended reading:
    • * Dowty, Jewish state, 3-18. [online]
    • Yonathan Shapiro, ‘The Historical origins of Israeli democracy’, in Israeli democracy under stress, ed. Ehud Sprinzak and Larry Diamond (Boulder & London: Lynne Rienner, 1993), 65-80.
    • Asher Arian, Politics in Israel: The Second republic, 2nd ed. (Washington, DC: CQ Press, 2005), 413-447.
    • Ruth Gavison, ‘Constitutions and political reconstruction? Israel’s quest for a constitution’, International Sociology 18.1 (March 2003), 53-70.
  9. Open topic

  10. Research paper due.
  11. Zionism and post-Zionism today

  12. Assigned readings:
    • Eliezer Schweid, ‘“Beyond” all that—Modernism, Zionism, Judaism’, Israel Studies 1.1 (Spring 1996), 224-246.
    • Shlomo Aronson, ‘The Post-Zionist discourse and critique of Israel: A Traditional Zionist perspective’, Israel Studies 8.1 (Spring 2003), 105-129.
    • Emanuele Ottolenghi, ‘Paradise lost: A Review of Laurence Silberstein’s “The Postzionism debates: Knowledge and power in Israel culture”’, review of Laurence Silberstein, The Postzionism debates: Knowledge and power in contemporary Israel (London: Routledge, 1999), Israel Studies 8.2 (Summer 2003), 139-150.
    Recommended reading:
    • * Daniel Gutwein, ‘Left and right post-Zionism and the privatization of Israeli collective memory’, Journal of Israeli History 20.2–3 (Summer 2001), 9-42.
    • Yaron Ezrahi, Rubber bullets: Power and conscience in modern Israel, 1st ed. (Berkeley & Los Angeles: University of California Press, 1998), 267-295.
    • Yoram Hazony, The Jewish state: The Struggle for Israel’s soul, 1st ed. (New York City: Basic Books, 2001), 323-340.
    • Dan Bar-On, ‘Israeli society between the culture of death and the culture of life’, Israel Studies 2.2 (Fall 1997), 88-112.

Upcoming talks and lectures

Please note that not all of these events are open to the general audience; please check with the organisers to confirm.
  • 20 October 2017—‘Iranian exiles in Istanbul and Ottoman–Qājār relations’ (10th annual conference of the Association for the Study of the Middle East and Africa): Key Bridge Marriott Hotel, Washington, DC.
  • 03 November 2017, 18.15—‘Jewish and Christian minorities in the mediæval Islamic world’ (Medieval Fair Lecture Series, Center for Medieval & Renaissance Studies, University of Oklahoma): Norman Public Library West, 300 Norman Center Court, Norman, Oklahoma.
  • 06 November 2017, 10.00—‘“Micro-minorities” in Israel: Druze, Circassian, and Baháʾí communities and the Jewish State’ (International Studies Institute, University of New Mexico): Albuquerque, New Mexico.
  • 07 November 2017, 17.30—‘Minorities and the Jewish state: The Druze, Circassian, and Bahāʾī communities of Israel’ (International Studies Lecture, Texas A&M University): College Station, Texas.
  • 15 November 2017, 15.00—‘Tajikistan between Iran and Islam: Nationalism and identity in post-Soviet Central Asia’ (Farzaneh Family Center for Iranian and Persian Gulf Studies, University of Oklahoma): Farzaneh Hall 145, Norman, Oklahoma.
  • 21 November 2017, 10.30—‘Call-and-response battles in Syria and Iraq: The Literary construction of Islamic collective memory’ (51st annual meeting of the Middle East Studies Association): Marriott Wardman Park Hotel, Washington, DC.
  • 17 March 2018—‘Armenians, Georgians, and Albanians and the initial Sāsānian response to the Arab-Islamic expansion’ (8th biennial congress of the Association for the Study of Persianate Societies): Ilia State University, Tbilisi, Georgia.
  • Past events ► click to expand