Mar 6-May 15
Instructor: Arie Zmora
Cost per class: $54 Member / $100 Public (scholarships available)
Despite multiple wars and constant challenges since its founding in 1948, Israel remains the Middle East’s only continuously functional democracy. This course will describe and explain Israel’s multi-party, parliamentary system and its historical roots in Mandatory Palestine.
We will explore several challenges that democracy faces in Israel’s unique circumstances, including:
- Israel is a Jewish State. How does Israel reconcile the secular principle of rule-of-law in a Western democracy with pressures to incorporate Halacha, religious Jewish law, into governance? How should Israel address differing answers to “Who is a Jew?”
- Israel rapidly absorbed large waves of Jews from differing diasporas with radically different cultures and views of governance. How does Israel forge into one nation diverse populations from such places as Algeria, Yemen, Russia, Ethiopia, and Germany?
- Israel has always had a large Arab population. How have they fared in a Jewish state? How does Israel over time preserve its pluralistic identity? Might West Bank settlements over time threaten or compromise Israel’s democratic principles?