The Hebrew University Logo
Syllabus Civil Society Activities promoting Coexistence in Israel - 3493
close window close
PDF version
Last update 22-02-2016
HU Credits: 2

Degree/Cycle: 2nd degree (Master)

Responsible Department: ngo & community organization management

Semester: 2nd Semester

Teaching Languages: English

Campus: Mt. Scopus

Course/Module Coordinator: Michal Almog-Bar

Coordinator Email:

Coordinator Office Hours: Monday 10:00 - 11:00

Teaching Staff:
Dr. Michal Bar

Course/Module description:
Course purpose and description:

This course offers a unique opportunity to experience the challenges and complexities of coexistence in Israel, the Holy Land for Christians, Jews and Muslims; a key point of interest and dispute for the international community, and the homeland shared and claimed by both Israelis and Palestinians. The course will focus on activities carried out by nonprofit organizations operating within the Israeli civil society, dealing with issues related to co-existence and to the protection and advancement of the civil and social rights of different populations, with special emphasis on the Arab-Palestinian population in Israel. These activities include educational and social services programs, community work and advocacy activities, aimed at creating dialogues and building co-existence among the different populations in the Israeli society and in Palestine.

The Israeli Nonprofit sector is one of the largest in the world in terms of the number of its organizations, the size of activities and the variety of fields coved by its organizations. In the last decade, a growing number of organizations including nonprofits, social enterprises and philanthropic foundations are dealing with issues related to co-existence and the social and political situation of the Arab-Palestinian population in Israel. While co-existence of populations practicing different religions is a prominent issue in Israel, its complexities are shared and evidenced in other societies around the world, including the USA. Many nonprofits organizations in the USA are also involved in a work aimed at building co-existence between populations of different religious and ethnic backgrounds and the learning from this course will be transferable to the American reality.

This course is designed to introduce students to the key issues of civil society activities for coexistence in Israel, enabling students to learn about the challenges and complexities of promoting coexistence in Israel - where civilizations, religions, national identities and ideologies converge. Through field a series of lectures, reading material, and trips and meetings with civil society activists, leaders of nonprofit organizations and communities, government officials and professional experts, students will be able to gain exposure to a wide variety of social initiatives, communities, people, narratives and perspectives on civil society activities in the field of co-existence and on the complexities involved in the work towards co-existence. Students will be introduced to the competing narratives of a conflict and how these narratives are used to sustain the conflict. The course will discuss and analyze different issues and problems involved in civil society activity for co-existence in a comparative-international perspective, enabling students to gain a broad understanding of this topic.

Course/Module aims:
See above

Learning outcomes - On successful completion of this module, students should be able to:
• Understand the problems involved in ethnic, religious, and political conflicts.
• Understanding the Israeli and the Palestinian narratives.
• Appreciate attitudes towards violence, nonviolence, peacemaking, and peace building practice in Buddhism, Hinduism, Judaism, Christianity and Islam.
• Being bale to see a conflict from both sides and analyze winners and losers in each camp.
• Getting an overview of the history of the regions and the origins of the conflict (including the history of hatred and violence).
• Getting familiarity with theories and models of peace making and efforts leading toward coexistence.
• Analyze critically, theoretical approaches to understanding the relationship between conflict, peace, and social justice.
• Analyze the role of religion in either promoting conflict or providing resources for peacemaking and peacebuilding.
• Learning to bridge groups that are isolated and inherently antagonistic.
• Identify processes and skills of peacebuilding and conflict transformation.
• Understand and analyzing peace promoting NGOs.
• Develop ideas for coexistence that are not only limited to the Middle East.

Attendance requirements(%):

Teaching arrangement and method of instruction: The students will receive 30 hours of lectures, group discussions and field trips on co-existence, civil society activities and initiatives, ethnic and racial tension, escalation of conflict, conflict resolution, and co-existence.

The course will include field trips and meetings with civil society activists, leaders of nonprofit organizations and communities, government officials and professional experts. This will enable students to gain exposure to a wide variety of social initiatives, communities, people, narratives and perspectives on civil society activities in the field of co-existence and on the complexities involved in the work towards co-existence.

Course/Module Content:
1. Introduction: Civil society in Israel in comparative perspective: a site of co-existence.

2. The challenge of Co-Existence: Responses from Civil Society.

3. Jerusalem: The Center of the Three Monotheistic Faiths.

4.Neve Shalom: A binational community of co-existence and to the city of Lod.

5.Different views, initiatives and experiences of co-existence.

Required Reading:
Bargal, D., & Bar, H. (1994).The encounter of social selves: Intergroup workshops for Arab and Jewish youth. Social Work with Groups, 17(3), 39-59.
Bekerman, Z., & Tatar, M. (2009). Parents' perceptions of multiculturalism, bilingualism, and peace education: The case of the Israeli Palestinian-Jewish bilingual primary schools. European Early Childhood Education Research Journal, 17 (2), 171-185.
Berns, J., & Fitzduff, M. (2007). What is coexistence and why a complementary approach? Retrieved from:
Dajani, M. (2008). Big dreams/Small hope: A peace vision. Crosscurrents, 58(2), 191-219. Retrieved from:
Feuerverger, G. (2001). Oasis of dreams: Teaching and learning peace in a Jewish-Palestinian village in Israel. New York, London: Routledge/Falmer.
Gidron, B., Bar , M. & Katz, H. (2004). The Israeli third sector: Between welfare state and civil society. New York: Plenum Press.
Gidron, B., Katz, S. & Hassenfeld, Y. (eds.) (2002) Mobilizing for peace: Peace/conflict resolution in South Africa, Northern Ireland and Israel/Palestine. New York: Oxford University Press.
Maoz, I. (2004). Coexistence is in the eye if the beholder: evaluating intergroup encounter interventions between Jews and Arabs in Israel. Journal of Social Issues, 60(3), 403-418.
Maoz, I. (2004). Peace building in violent conflict: Israeli-Palestinian post Oslo people to people activities. International Journal of Politics, Culture and Society, 17(3), 563-574.
Maoz, I. (2011). Contact in protracted asymmetrical conflict: Twenty years of planned encounters between Israeli Jews and Palestinians. Journal of Peace Research, 48(1), 115-125.
Mendilow, J. (2012). Israel's Palestinian Minority. Israel Studies Review, 27(1), 142-160.
Nusseibeh, Sari (2008). Once upon a country: A Palestinian life. New York: Picador.
Oz, Amos (2005). A tale of love and darkness. New York: Mariner Books.

Additional Reading Material:
This "syllabus" is a brief summary of the main features and requirements of the course. It does not replace the full syllabus that can be accessed on the course web site. The full syllabus should be sought for an updated description of the course goals, required reading, and other requirements.

Course/Module evaluation:
End of year written/oral examination 0 %
Presentation 0 %
Participation in Tutorials 0 %
Project work 100 %
Assignments 0 %
Reports 0 %
Research project 0 %
Quizzes 0 %
Other 0 %

Additional information:
Students needing academic accommodations based on a disability should contact the Center for Diagnosis and Support of Students with Learning Disabilities, or the Office for Students with Disabilities, as early as possible, to discuss and coordinate accommodations, based on relevant documentation.
For further information, please visit the site of the Dean of Students Office.