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Center for Israel Studies | Courses & Minor

2017-2018 Courses

Courses listed may apply to a minor in Israel Studies
AU Registrar Class Schedule.


Fall 2017

History of Israel (3)

(HIST 443.001)
M/TH 2:30 PM - 3:45 PM

Michael Brenner, Seymour and Lillian Abensohn Chair in Israel Studies

This course traces the development of modern political Zionism in the 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. Usually offered every fall.


Jerusalem: Myths, History, Modernity (3)

(GNED 130.008)
M/TH 11:20 AM - 12:35 PM

Michael Brenner, Seymour and Lillian Abensohn Chair in Israel Studies

Central for the three Abrahamic traditions, Jerusalem has been a locus of worship and dispute for over two-thousand years. The course proceeds thematically, beginning with the role of Jerusalem in the mythic imagination of Judaism, Christianity, and Islam. Students then turn to writings reflecting the history of Jerusalem as a physical place and a source of contention for the Assyrians and Babylonians, the Persians, the Romans, the empires of medieval Europe and the Ottomans, the British, the Arabs and the modern State of Israel. Finally, the course turns to the modern era and examines Jerusalem as a modern city and a proxy for disputes over identity, culture, language, and religion. Students visit different places of worship in DC and invite guest speakers representing a diversity of cultures to class. Open only to Complex Problems Living-Learning Community students. Permission: Program Director.


Renegotiating Arab-Israeli Peace (Senior Capstone) (3)

(SISU 419.012)
M 2:30 PM - 5:20 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. Prerequisite: International Studies major and at least 75 credits.

Politics and Public Policy in Israel (3)

W 2:30 PM - 5:20 PM

Dan Arbell, Scholar in Residence, Israel Studies

Israel's parliamentary democracy is a mosaic in which ethnic, class, religious, national and migration considerations play a dynamic part in the intricacies of the political system. This course provides an overview of the geopolitical history of Israel and the Arab-Israel conflict for the pre-state era until the present, and also 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. Prerequisites: GOVT-130 or GOVT-231 or GOVT-232, and a minimum of 2.5 GPA.

US Israel Relations (3)

T/F 12:55 PM - 2:10 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. Prerequisite: SISU-206 and SISU-230.


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. You may also contact Dr. Michael Brenner, Abensohn Chair of Israel Studies, 202-885-2752,; or Laura Cutler, Managing Director, 202-885-3780,