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HIST3113 Modern Israel Part 1

Module Overview

Aims and Objectives

Module Aims

- Go beyond the media coverage of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and explore the Israeli society from a historical perspective - Provide you with primary sources (in translation) which will enable you to develop an understanding of the political and social developments in the Israeli society since 1948 - Introduce you to the main (historical) debates about contemporary Israeli identities

Learning Outcomes

Knowledge and Understanding

Having successfully completed this module, you will be able to demonstrate knowledge and understanding of:

  • The geo-political situation of the State of Israel between “Europe” and the “Orient”.
  • The main political developments since 1948 and their reflection in historical writing.
  • Current debates and frictions inside of the Israeli society (along the lines of Jewish/Arab, secular/religious, European/Oriental divisions).
  • The role of architecture and planning in Israel.


Modern Israel is the topic of this third level History Special Subject course, running over two semesters. Contemporary images of Israel are often informed by general political attitudes, and the many – different – realities of life in Israel tend to disappear behind these images. The history of the pre-state Jewish community in Palestine and of the State of Israel has to be seen in a variety of wider contexts: European colonial interests in the Middle East; Jewish life in Europe and the rise of Zionism; the emergence of a Palestinian Arab political consciousness; the British Mandate and the League of Nations; World War I and its impact on the region; World War II and the Holocaust. These contexts will be treated, but the focus of the course is Modern Israel itself – its history, its political situation, inner-Israeli divisions and the role of historical consciousness. Part 2 of the course will take a closer look at Israel’s cultural history.

Learning and Teaching

Teaching and learning methods

Teaching methods include: - Two double sessions per week in seminar format with student presentations - Interpretation and close analysis of sources - Essay workshops and tutorials Learning activities include: - Preparing introductory and background reading for each seminar - Preparing oral presentations - Analysis of source material

Independent Study260
Total study time300

Resources & Reading list

Ron Kuzar (2001). Hebrew and Zionism: A Discourse Analytic Cultural Study. 

Amnon Raz-Krakotzkin (2001). History Textbooks and the Limits of Israeli Consciousness. Journal of Israeli History 20. ,2/3 , pp. 155-72.

Shmuel Eisenstadt (1985). The Transformation of Israeli Society: An Essay in Interpretation. 

Gil Anidjar (2003). The Jew, the Arab. A History of the Enemy. 

Tom Segev (1986). 1949: The First Israelis. 

Oz Almog (2000). The Sabra: The Creation of the New Jew. 

Eric Stephen Zakim (2005). To build and be built: landscape, literature and the construction of Zionist identity. 

Derek J. Penslar (2007). Israel in History. The Jewish State in Comparative Perspective. 

Raja Shehadeh (2007). Palestinian Walks: Notes on a Vanishing Landscape. 

Miron Benvenisti (2000). Sacred Landscape. The buried history of the Holy Land since 1948. 



MethodPercentage contribution
Essay  (4000 words) 50%
Take-away exam 50%


MethodPercentage contribution
Assessed written tasks 100%

Repeat Information

Repeat type: Internal & External

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