The History of Modern Israel - Part II: Challenges of Israel as a sovereign state

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About this course: This course deals with the Israeli politics, economy, society and culture, since its creation in 1948 till today. It analyzes the construction of the Israeli historical narrative as an identity-building narrative, intending to inculcate a collective memory to a diverse society. We will focus on key events and essential components that shaped the Israeli society from the fifties till the present. We will also discuss the changes that the Israeli society experiences in its almost seventy years of existence and how it affects its politics and culture. Among the topics we will discuss issues such as immigration, economic transformation, political upheaval, religious Zionism an…

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When you enroll for courses through Coursera you get to choose for a paid plan or for a free plan

  • Free plan: No certicification and/or audit only. You will have access to all course materials except graded items.
  • Paid plan: Commit to earning a Certificate—it's a trusted, shareable way to showcase your new skills.

About this course: This course deals with the Israeli politics, economy, society and culture, since its creation in 1948 till today. It analyzes the construction of the Israeli historical narrative as an identity-building narrative, intending to inculcate a collective memory to a diverse society. We will focus on key events and essential components that shaped the Israeli society from the fifties till the present. We will also discuss the changes that the Israeli society experiences in its almost seventy years of existence and how it affects its politics and culture. Among the topics we will discuss issues such as immigration, economic transformation, political upheaval, religious Zionism and post-Zionism, privatization and Americanization, Holocaust increasing role in shaping Israel's identity, diversity and multiculturalism, as well as the enduring conflict with the Palestinians and the Arab world.

Created by:  Tel Aviv University

  • Taught by:  Professor Eyal Naveh, General History

    General History professor at Tel Aviv University and at the Kibbutzim College of Education
  • Taught by:  Professor Asher Susser, Senior Research Fellow

    Moshe Dayan Center for Middle Eastern and African Studies

Level Beginner Commitment 5 weeks of study, 1-2 hours/week Language English, Subtitles: Hebrew How To Pass Pass all graded assignments to complete the course. User Ratings 4.8 stars Average User Rating 4.8See what learners said Coursework

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Tel Aviv University Tel Aviv University (TAU) is Israel's largest institution of higher learning – with over 30,000 students and more than 125 schools and departments in nine faculties. Global in outlook and impact, it is consistently ranked among the world's top 100 universities, as well as the top 20 institutions in terms of scientific citations. A spirit of openness and innovation is evident in all of TAU's teaching and research activities, breaking down barriers between disciplines, and boldly striving to address the twenty-first century's most pressing challenges.

Syllabus


WEEK 1


Israeli Society: The First Years 1948-1967



In the first two decades of its existence the new state of Israel faced many challenges. Israelis at this period faced economic difficulties, insecure boarders, political challenges and social upheavals. Led by the Labor party, the new state absorbed huge numbers of Jewish immigrants who came primarily from Arab countries, as well as a significant number of Holocaust survivors. These projects and others required a collective effort and a spirit of commitment at the expense of individual needs and aspirations. Thus we can define Israeli society in those years as a mobilized society.


13 videos, 2 readings expand

  1. Video: Course Trailer
  2. Video: Introduction
  3. Video: The Israeli Political System
  4. Video: The First Years - A Political review
  5. Reading: The Armistice - Moshe Sharett
  6. Video: Security Threats and Military Operations
  7. Discussion Prompt: The murder of Roi Rotberg and Moshe Dayan's eulogy
  8. Reading: The Kfar Qasim massacre court trial
  9. Video: Economic Difficulties and Economic Growth
  10. Video: Facing mass Immigration and the Challenge of Absorption - Part 1
  11. Discussion Prompt: The Challenge of Absorption
  12. Video: Facing mass Immigration and the Challenge of Absorption - Part 2
  13. Video: The Eichmann Trial
  14. Video: International Relations and Domestic Policy
  15. Video: A Man & A Symbol: Ben Gurion's Leadership – An interview with Prof. Zeev Tsachor (In Hebrew - Please use subtitles)
  16. Video: Popular Culture and Common Life in the fifties and Sixties - An interview with Prof. Orit Rozin
  17. Video: Summary


Graded: Evaluate your knowledge

WEEK 2


Israel, Between War and Peace 1967-1979
From the late Sixties until the late Seventies Israeli society experienced two major wars that had a huge impact on life in the country, as well as one peace agreement that altered the status of Israel in the area and reinvigorated hope for a better future.


9 videos, 2 readings expand

  1. Video: Opening
  2. Reading: The path towards the Six-Day War - Political view
  3. Reading: The path towards the Six-Day War - Civilian view
  4. Discussion Prompt: The path towards the Six-Day War
  5. Video: The Six-Day War
  6. Video: The Impact of the War on Israeli society: Geography, demography, economy, politics, defense, culture, the issue of the territories
  7. Discussion Prompt: Different views regarding the "Fruits of the War"
  8. Video: The Yom Kippur war
  9. Video: The Impact of the war on the Israeli society: political impact, economic, shattering of Israeli identity
  10. Video: Non-Parliamentary political organization - Settlement movement
  11. Video: Non-Parliamentary political organization - Peace Now
  12. Video: Peace with Egypt
  13. Video: The relations with Egypt - Interview with Shimon Shamir


Graded: Quiz

WEEK 3


Israel - A Society in transition 1977-1995
In this lesson we will discuss the essential developments that transformed Israeli society at the end of the twentieth century.


10 videos, 1 reading expand

  1. Video: Opening
  2. Video: The political turnover and the rise of the "National traditional block"
  3. Reading: Sephardi discrimination feelings
  4. Video: Economic transformation
  5. Video: The 1st Lebanon war
  6. Video: The Palestinian uprising (1st Intifada)
  7. Video: Immigration
  8. Video: Towards negotiations with the Palestinians
  9. Video: The Oslo accords
  10. Video: Peace with Jordan
  11. Video: Rabin's Assassination
  12. Discussion Prompt: Learning from the tragedy


Graded: Quiz

WEEK 4


Changing Identity
This segment of the course attempts to explore the very elusive topic of Israel’s changing identity.


7 videos, 3 readings expand

  1. Video: Opening
  2. Video: Americanization and Globalization: Politics and Culture
  3. Discussion Prompt: The Americanization process
  4. Video: The Jewish context: Israel-Diaspora relationship
  5. Discussion Prompt: The Melting pot
  6. Video: Towards a Multi-Cultural Society
  7. Reading: President Reuven Rivlin address regarding the fragmentation of the Israeli society
  8. Reading: Author Amos Oz arguing for cultural diversity
  9. Video: Zionism, Post-Zionism & Religious Zionism
  10. Discussion Prompt: A fictional monologue of a "post –Zionist"
  11. Discussion Prompt: Post-Zionist or Anti-Zionist?
  12. Discussion Prompt: Messianic Zionism: Deviation or Evolution?
  13. Reading: Author Aharon Appelfeld, a Holocaust survivor, testifies:
  14. Video: The Memory of the Holocaust as a Basis for Collective Identity
  15. Video: The Memory of the Holocaust and the IDF (Israeli army) - An interview with Dr. Tammy Hoffman
  16. Discussion Prompt: The lessons of the Holocaust


Graded: Quiz

WEEK 5


Israel in the 21th century
The last part of the course will explore current issues that characterize Israel today. The "Start Up Nation", Social inequality, the Political fragmentation & the difficulties of being situated in the unstable and non-democratic Muslim Middle East.


8 videos expand

  1. Video: Opening
  2. Video: Economic growth and Transformation - The Start-Up nation
  3. Discussion Prompt: Tycoons Controlling the economy
  4. Video: Israeli society Probes, Challenges, The social protest and its results
  5. Discussion Prompt: Prof. Shlomo Ben-Ami warns of a real emergency:
  6. Video: Israeli Democracy Political Fragmentation and Discontent
  7. Video: The 2nd intifada, Gaza withdrawal and wars
  8. Video: The Transformation of the Arab-Israeli Conflict (State Actors and non-State Players)
  9. Video: Jewish and Democratic: Challenges and tensions
  10. Discussion Prompt: Jewish and/or Democratic
  11. Video: Jewish and Democratic or Jewish vs Democratic? - An interview panel (In Hebrew - Please use subtitles)


Graded: Quiz

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