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Israel: Politics and Society - JMMZ254
Anglický název: Israel: Politics and Society
Zajišťuje: Katedra ruských a východoevropských studií (23-KRVS)
Fakulta: Fakulta sociálních věd
Platnost: od 2015 do 2015
Semestr: letní
Body: 6
E-Kredity: 6
Způsob provedení zkoušky: letní s.:
Rozsah, examinace: letní s.:1/1 Zk [hodiny/týden]
Počet míst: 80 / 80 (60)
Minimální obsazenost: 5
Stav předmětu: vyučován
Jazyk výuky: angličtina
Způsob výuky: prezenční
Poznámka: předmět je možno zapsat mimo plán
povolen pro zápis po webu
Garant: PhDr. Kateřina Králová, M.A., Ph.D.
Hana Kubátová, M.A., Ph.D.
Vyučující: PhDr. Kateřina Králová, M.A., Ph.D.
Hana Kubátová, M.A., Ph.D.
Sylabus - angličtina
Poslední úprava: Hana Kubátová, M.A., Ph.D. (15.01.2018)


This course provides graduate students with the fundamentals of modern Israel’s emergence, its ideological foundations, and political developments (with a focus on political system, constitutional debates, and how the multiple Israeli identities manifest themselves politically).

Course number: JMMZ254 (offered primarily for graduate students of Political Science, International Relations, Balkan, Eurasian and Central European Studies, Transatlantic Studies, American Studies, and European Studies; available for exchange students)

Credits: 6

Course ‘guarantors:’ Dr Hana Kubátová (Institute of Political Studies, Faculty of Social Sciences, Charles University) and Dr Kateřina Králová (Institute of International Studies, Faculty of Social Sciences, Charles University)

Instructors: Dr Hana Kubátová, Dr Kateřina Králová, Irena Kalhousová (London School of Economics, ABD), Professor Shlomo Hasson (Department of Geography, Hebrew University in Jerusalem), Professor Menachem Hofnung (Department of Political Science, Hebrew University in Jerusalem), Professor Gidi Rahat (Department of Political Science, Hebrew University in Jerusalem / Senior Fellow at the Israel Democracy Institute), Dr Timea Spitka (Department of Political Science, Hebrew University in Jerusalem)

Contact: hana.kubatova@fsv.cuni.cz / katerina.kralova@fsv.cuni.cz

Office hours: Will be updated with the beginning of the Summer Term, please check the departmental websites

Class meetings/exams: As this is a short international course, the classes will meet every day between April 25 and May 4, 2018. Exam (multiple choice test with one short essay question) will be conducted over Moodle. For full schedule, room numbers and others, check the Student Information System.


Required readings: Students are expected to read all assigned readings (see below) prior to attending the course. All texts will be available in the Student Information System and Moodle. Important: As this is the only course on Israel offered by Charles University, you will benefit from the course only by having read all assigned texts.


Attendance: Your attendance (and active participation) is mandatory. If the sessions collide with your regular classes where participation is necessary, please contact the course ‘guarantors’ who will approach the lecturers on behalf of you.


Students with disabilities: Students with disabilities are asked to contact the course ‘guarantors’ as soon as possible to discuss reasonable accommodation.


Cheating and plagiarism will result in the failing grade from the assignment at minimum; it may lead to suspension from the university.


Class Schedule:


April 25: Introductory class (one session)

Instructors: Hana Kubátová & Kateřina Králová

·       Syllabus reading: course ‘guarantors’ will introduce the course, its aims and objectives, and answer students’ questions pertaining to the course

·       Getting to know each other: students will be asked to introduce themselves briefly, and say a few words about what they expect from the course (this is important so the ‘guarantors’ can identify guest lecturers that you might want to approach)


April 26: Historical Background, Zionism, and the Ideological Foundations (two sessions)

Instructor:Irena Kalhousová (London School of Economics)

·       First session: Examining historical background of Israel’s existence, focusing on ties between Israel and Europe

·       Is Israel of Europe, even if not in Europe?

·       Learning about the connection between the EU (and individual European countries) and Israel

·       Second session: Introduction to Zionism and the ideological foundations of the State of Israel. A comparative perspective is offered here, looking how East-Central European Jewish experience fed into the establishment of a Jewish nationalist movement.


April 27: Roundtable: What is the role of Europe/European Union in Israel? (one session)

Discussants: Irena Kalhousová, Timea Spitka, HE Daniel Meron (to be confirmed)

Moderators: Hana Kubátová & Kateřina Králová


April 30: Nationhood, Religion, and Citizenship: The Cultural Map of Israel (two sessions)

Instructor: Professor Shlomo Hasson (Hebrew University in Jerusalem)

·       The two sessions investigate the tensions between nationhood, religion and citizenship in contemporary State of Israel

·       Attention will be devoted to relations between Jews and Arabs, as well as the cleavages between religious and secular Israelis.

·       What are the sociological, political and economic dilemmas around which different groups in Israel encounter each other? 


May 1: Public Holiday, no classes


May 2: Formal Rigid Constitution or Flexible Basic Laws? (two sessions)

Instructor: Professor Menachem Hofnung (Hebrew University in Jerusalem)

·       The two sessions will present the main features of the Israeli constitutional system and a topical discussion of Israel’s basic laws

·       While focusing on current issues (and debates), the transition period after the establishment of the State of Israel will be included


May 3: Political System of Israel (two sessions)

Instructor: Professor Gidi Rahat (Hebrew University in Jerusalem/ Israel Democracy Institute)

·      The two sessions give an overview of the political system of Israel (with a focus on elections and political parties): What are the main bodies and institutions forming the political system of Israel? How do the multiple Israeli identities express themselves politically? 

·      Students will also learn about the main challenges facing Israel’s parliamentary system (including political fragmentation, instability, and rising populism) 


May 4: Security and Protection of Israeli and Palestinian civilians under the Shadow of the Conflict (two sessions)

Instructor: Dr Timea Spitka (Hebrew University in Jerusalem)

·      The aim of this course is to unpack Israeli national security dilemmas and examine wider aspects of security and welfare of individuals under the shadow of the Israeli/Palestinian conflict. Traditional notions of security focus on the security of the state or the national group. Who is left out under the protection of severe security measures?  How do ongoing security measures relate to democracy, human rights and protection of all civilians?

·      These two sessions will discuss traditional notions of security versus human security, which prioritize the protection of the human individual. What are the trade-offs between national security and individual freedom and wellbeing? The class will highlight how security measures affect women, youth and visible and invisible minorities. The sessions will examine ongoing Israeli security measures and how they affect individual rights and realities of civilians and vulnerable groups. 


May 21, 28, and June 4: Exam Options (conducted via Moodle, please sign up in the Student Information System)


Final Exam/Classification:

·       Conducted via Moodle on the dates above; students will have 45 minutes to complete

·       Open book test

·       Final exam will consist of

ü  Ten multiple-choice questions (on the assigned readings) where students can receive up to 10 points

ü  One open essay question (asking students to critically interpret an argument in one or more of the required readings) of up to 10 points

·       Mandatory attendance (for each unexcused absence, students will receive –2 points)

·       Active participation in all classes



91% and more: A (excellent performance; the student has shown originality and displayed an exceptional grasp of the material and a deep analytical understanding of the subject)

81-90%: B (very good performance; the student has mastered the material, and understands the subject well and has shown some originality of thought and/or considerable effort)

71-80%: C (fair performance; the student has acquired an acceptable understanding of the material and essential subject matter of the course, but has not succeeded in translating this understanding into consistently creative or original work)

61-70%: D(poor performance; the student has shown some understanding of thematerial and subject matter covered during the course)

51-60%: E (barely passed; the student has barely succeeded in mastering the subject matter)

0-50%: F (fail; the student has not succeeded in mastering the subject matter)


Mandatory Reading List (Full list available in Moodle with the beginning of the semester! Please be sure to check the Moodle!)

·      Avinieri, Shlomo, “The Presence of Eastern and Central Europe in the Culture and Politics of Contemporary Israel,” in East European Politics & Societies, vol. 10, 1996, no. 2, pp. 163-172.

·      Friling, Tuvia, “Introduction to Israel Studies Special Volume: Israel and the Holocaust: Scars Cry Out for Healing,” Israel Studies, vol. 14, 2009, no. 1, pp. I-XVII, 1-174.

·      Gutwein, Daniel, Left and Right Post‐Zionism and the Privatization of Israeli Collective Memory, Journal of Israeli History, vol. 20, no. 2-3, pp. 9-42.

·      Brenner, Michael, Zionism: A Brief History, Markus Wiener Publishers, 2003, pp. 3-22, pp. 25-63.

·      Rahat, Gideon and Reuven Hazan, “Israel,” in Phillips Shively and Paulette Kurzer (eds.), Comparative Governance,NY: McGraw Hill, 2015, 45pp.

·      Hofnung, Menachem, “Israeli Constitutional Politics: The Fragility of Impartiality,” Israel Affairs, vol. 5, 1999, no. 2-3, pp. 34-54.

·      Timea Spitka ‘Intervention in Israel/Palestine, The Troubled Road to Partitioning’, in International Intervention, Identity and Conflict Transformation, Bridges and Walls between Groups, Routledge, 2015 (Required as background reading for those unfamiliar with the Israeli/Palestinian conflict)

·      Timea Spitka, ‘Children on the Front Lines, Responsibility to Protect in the Israeli/Palestinian Conflict, Global Responsibility to Protect, To be published: January 2018.

·      Neve Gordon, “Human Rights as a Security Threat: Lawfare and the Campaign Against Rights NGOs,” Law and Society Review. Vol. 48:2, 2014: 311-344 (required).


Supplementary Reading List

·      United Nations Human Rights Council, ‘Report of the independent commission of inquiry established pursuant to Human Rights Council Resolution S-21/1’, June 24th, 2015

·      Ilan Goldenberg, Major General Gadi Shamni, Nimrod Novik and Colonel Kris Bauma, ‘Advancing the Dialogue; A Security System for the Two State Solution’, May 2016, Centre for a New American Security. (Supplementary as reference) 

·      Katherine Natanel, ‘Border Collapse and Boundary Maintenance: Militarisation and the Micro-geographies of Violence in Israel-Palestine’, Gender, Place and Culture, Vol 23, Issue 6, 2016

·      MARK PEFFLEY, MARC L. HUTCHISON, MICHAL SHAMIR, ‘The Impact of Persistent Terrorism on Political Tolerance: Israel, 1980 to 2011’, American Political Science Review Vol. 109, No. 4 November 2015

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