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Center for Israel Studies | Courses & Minor

2014-2015 Courses

Courses listed may apply to a minor in Israel Studies

For available class times and additional information, please visit:
AU Registrar Class Schedule.

Spring 2015

Arab/Israeli Relations
(SISU 319.001)
F 8:55 AM –11:35 PM
Andrew Spath, Instructor, School of International Service

A survey of Arab-Israeli relations from their origins to the present. Includes an account of Zionism and Palestinian nationalism, the history of the British mandate, the Arab-Israeli wars, the involvement of external powers, and the quest for peace. The emphasis is on conflict resolution. Prerequisute: SISU 206 and SISU 220.

Israeli Foreign Policy, 1948-2015
(SISU 330.002)
W 11:45 AM –2:25 PM
Dan Arbell, Scholar in Residence, Israel Studies

Israeli foreign policy is at a crossroads as the world is witnessing a realignment of the great powers (United States, China, and Russia) while the political landscape of the Middle East is rapidly changing. Israeli foreign policy needs to adapt to the new global and regional realities as it faces its strategic challenges. This course reviews the history and evolution of Israel's foreign policy, examines the principles that have governed it in times of war and times of peace, and analyzes challenges facing Israel globally, regionally, and bilaterally. The course analyzes major trends and developments in Israel's relations with not only its neighbors, but the European Union, Eastern Mediterranean nations, the United Nations, Russia and the former Soviet Bloc, East Asia with an emphasis on China and India, Africa, and Latin America, and how Israeli diplomacy copes with changes in an effort to advance Israel's strategic goals. 

Negotiating Arab-Israeli Peace (Senior Capstone)
(SISU 415.001)
F 2:35 PM –5:15 PM
Guy Ziv, Assistant Professor, School of International Service

This senior capstone provides students with a deeper understanding of the problems that have confounded the Israeli-Palestinian peace process, in particular the "final status" issues: borders, Jerusalem, refugees, and security. Students focus on the contested narratives;the relevant political actors;and the key international, regional, and internal events that have shaped the dispute. As well, previous rounds of negotiations are reviewed in order to analyze what went wrong. Students then partake in a simulation in which they attempt to constructively address the final status issues as well as other sticking points, such as settlements and terrorism, in Israeli-Palestinian peacemaking. 

History of Israel
(HIST 443.001)
W 2:35 PM –5:15 PM
Michael Brenner, Seymour and Lillian Abensohn Chair in Israel Studies

Traces the development of modern political Zionism in nineteenth-century Europe;the historical background leading to the establishment of the State of Israel in 1948;and the history of Israel since then, including patterns of Jewish immigration and its relationship to the Arab world. Meets with HIST-643.

Fall 2014

Modern Jewish Civilization
(HIST 245.001)
M/TH 11:45 AM – 1:00 PM

Michael Brenner, Seymour and Lillian Abensohn Chair in Israel Studies
This course surveys Jewish responses to the challenges of modernity. It examines the creation of new Jewish communities in America and Israel, shifts in Jewish political status, and innovations in Jewish religious and intellectual history such as Zionism and Hasidism. 

Politics and Public Policy in Israel
W 11:45 AM – 2:25 PM
Dan Arbell, Scholar in Residence, Israel Studies

Israel's parliamentary democracy is a mosaic in which ethnic class, religious, nationalist and migration considerations play a dynamic part in the intricacies of the political system. The course is divided into two main sections: (1) An overview of the geopolitical history of Israel and the Arab-Israeli conflict from the pre-state era until today; (2) An introduction to the principles that guide Israel's political system and the cleavages in Israeli society which greatly affect developments and trends in politics and policy.
Prerequisite: GOVT-130 or GOVT-231 or GOVT-232, and minimum 2.5 GPA.  

Psychology of Terrorism and Political Violence
(JLC 596.001)
TH 5:30 – 8:00 PM
Thomas Zeitzoff, Assistant Professor, Department of Justice, Law and Criminology

Why do people participate in political violence or terrorism? What do psychological theories say about decisions to participate and how individuals and groups respond to violence? How do these psychology theories compare to "rational" explanations of terrorism and political violence. The purpose of this course will be to teach students to explore these, and other related questions in a rigorous, analytical way.  

U.S. Israel Relations
M 11:45 AM – 2:25 PM
Guy Ziv, Assistant Professor, School of International Service

This course explores the evolution of U.S. relations with Israel, from the establishment of the Jewish state in 1948 to the present day. Along the way, it examines key milestones in U.S.-Israel relations, beginning with President Truman's controversial decision to buck the U.S. foreign policy establishment and formally recognize the state of Israel; the wartime American airlift in 1973; the U.S. role in Arab-Israeli peacemaking, from Secretary of State Henry Kissinger's shuttle diplomacy to the two Camp David summits and beyond; and the U.S. role in providing military, economic, and diplomatic aid to the Jewish state. The course analyzes how a combination of sentimental, political and strategic factors have led to the formation of a wholly unique bilateral relationship characterized at once by both tight bonds and inherent tensions.

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Israel Studies Minor

AU's undergraduate minor in Israel Studies is one of the premier programs of its kind in the United States. Its focus is on Israel's history, unique political democracy, multicultural society, economic development, immigrant absorption, and international contributions in the arts, business, technology, sciences, and letters. Courses are offered in numerous areas including sociology, Jewish studies, history, and the School of International Service. Another feature of the minor is its seamless connection with study abroad in Israel. AU students are encouraged to study in Israel and receive credits toward the Israel Studies minor. The Center for Israel Studies complements the minor by hosting conferences and events to further educate individuals about Israel and Israel's contributions to the world.

For additional information, please see the Israel Studies Minor Requirements in the Jewish Studies website. You may also contact Dr. Michael Brenner, Abensohn Chair of Israel Studies, 202-885-2752,; or Laura Cutler, Managing Director, 202-885-3780,