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Last update 11-10-2015
HU Credits: 4

Degree/Cycle: 1st degree (Bachelor)

Responsible Department: political science

Semester: 2nd Semester

Teaching Languages: Hebrew

Campus: Mt. Scopus

Course/Module Coordinator: Prof. Menachem Hofnung

Coordinator Email:

Coordinator Office Hours: Monday 12 - 13
Wednesday 12:00-13:00

Teaching Staff:
Prof Menachem Hofnung

Course/Module description:
The course aims to provide students of political science an introduction to the political system of Israel. The course touches upon the political history of the State of Israel, description and analysis of the state’s authorities and powers, and the party system. The course analyzes selected salient political dilemmas in Israel.

Course/Module aims:
1. Gaining knowledge and understanding of basic principles of the political system in Israel;
2. Understanding of the institutional, legal and historical principles that guide the actions of state authorities;
3. Enhancing the ability to understand and analyze the different contexts of political events.

Learning outcomes - On successful completion of this module, students should be able to:
1. To become familiar and understand seminal events as well as political and legal decisions that have shaped the political system of the State of Israel;
2. To analyze historical and political processes through the aid of different sources and methods;
3. To write a self-opinion based on different sources and reasoned arguments.

Attendance requirements(%):

Teaching arrangement and method of instruction: Lecture, class discussion, term papers and two exams.

Course/Module Content:
1st section : the establishment of the Israeli political system

1. Politics and society , the political system;
2. From tradition to innovation, the British Mandate and the creation of the community based institutions;
3. The creation of a political community in the pre state period.
4. Political heritage of the pre state period;
5. Establishment of the state, institution building and the question of the constitution.

2nd section : The government authorities

6. The Knesset (The Israeli Parliament);
7. Elections;
8. Party system;
9. Government and governance;
10. The Judiciary and the legal system;
11. Power relations between the authorities and the "Constitutional Revolution";
12. Constitutional Politics : judicial review of the authorities;
13. State Audit and inquiry committees;
14. Public Service.

3rd section : political behavior

15. Society, Economy and Politics;
16. Political communication and political participation;
17. Money in politics;
18. Local democracy in Israel.

4th section : Politics and Society in Israel - Basic Issues

19. Human and Civil Rights;
20. Religion and State relations;
21. The relationship between the civilian system and security system;
22. The Arab citizens of Israel;
23. The Palestinian question and the issue of state’s borders;
24. The Jewish settlement in the west bank and the diengagement from Gaza;
25. Where Israeli democracy is heading?

Required Reading:
In Hebrew

Additional Reading Material:
• Arian Asher, The Second Republic: Politics in Israel, (Chatham House, 1997). JQ 1825 I8 A79 (1171712)
• Arian Asher and Shamir Michal, The Elections in Israel, 2003 (New Brunswick, NJ: Transaction, 2004). JQ 1825 I865 A7443 2005 (000557396)
• Barzilai Gad, Communities and Law: Politics and Cultures of Legal Identities (Ann arbor, University of Michigan Press, 2003).
• Barnett Michael (Editor), Israel in Comparative Perspective (Albany, SUNY Press, 1996).
• DS 119.6 I75 (1157678)
• Diskin Avaraham, Elections and Voters in Israel (New York: Praeger, 1991).
• JQ 1825 I865 D583 (1085757)
• Dowty Alan, The Jewish State. (Berkeley, University of California press, 1997).
• JQ 1825 I8 D69 (1197038)
• Dowty Alan, Critical Issues in Israeli Society. (Westport, Connecticut, Praeger, 2004).
• Galnoor Itzhak, Steering the Polity: Communication and Politics in Israel, (Beverly Hills, Sage 1982). JQ 1825 I8 G34 (834857)
• Ghanem As'ad, The Palestinian-Arab Minority in Israel, 1948-2000: A Political Study. (Albany, SUNY Press, 2001).
• Grinberg, Lev L., Split Corporatism in Israel (Albany, NY: State University of New York Press, 1991) HD 6798.5 G73 (1083175).
• Halperin-Kaddari Ruth, Women in Israel: A State of Their Own. (Philadelphia, University of Pennsylvania Press, 2004).
• Hazan Reuven & Maor Moshe (ed.) Parties, Elections and Cleavages (London, Frank Cass, 2000).
• Hofnung Menachem, Democracy, Law and National Security in Israel (Aldershot, Dartmouth Publishing Co., 1996). JC 599 I8 H64 (115337)
• Horowitz D., Lissak M., Origins of the Israeli Polity, (Chicago, Univ. of Chicago Press, 1978). DS 126 H6713 1978 (82904)
• Horowitz D., Lissak M., Trouble in Utopia, (SUNY Press, 1989). JQ 1825 I8 H66 (1051070)
• Levy-Faur, David, Gabriel Sheffer and David Vogel (Ed) Israel in Comparative Perspective: The Dynamics of Change (London, Frank Cass, 1999).
• Medding, Peter, The Founding of Israeli Democracy 1948-1967, (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1990), (Chaps. 2-4, 7-8). JQ 1825 I8 M43 (1064642)
• Shetreet, Shimon, Justice in Israel: A study of the Israeli Judiciary (Dordrecht, Martinus Nijhoff Publishers, 1994). JQ 1825 I85 S54 (1140667)
• Smooha Sammy, "Ethnic Democracy: Israel as an Archetype", Israel Studies 2 (1997), 198-241.
• Troen, Ilan, and Lucas, Noah (Editors), Israel-The First Decade of Independence, (NY, SUNY Press 1995). DS 126.5 I873 (1132417)

Course/Module evaluation:
End of year written/oral examination 60 %
Presentation 0 %
Participation in Tutorials 0 %
Project work 0 %
Assignments 30 %
Reports 0 %
Research project 0 %
Quizzes 10 %
Other 0 %

Additional information:
An updated syllabus will be published in February 2016.
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.