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Israel outline

Representing Israel in Law and Literature


Israel and Palestine Summer I, 2022

city of haifa in israel with palm trees and clear blue oceans overlooking a cityscape


Explores contemporary Israeli culture through literature and art. Focuses on the tensions, pains, and pleasures of existence from various Israeli points of view. Takes place in Israel during the summer term, offering students an opportunity to meet with contemporary Israeli writers, visit sites of the literary settings, and explore art galleries and museums. Readings include short stories and poetry by major Israeli and Palestinian writers from 1948 through the present. ENGL 2610 and JWSS 2610 are cross-listed.

Introduces students to an Israel rarely seen in the news: Films, art, music, short stories, food, and spiritual movements show Israel from a different point of view and expose students to the questions Israelis ask themselves in order to define their own identity. Modern Israel is a fascinating, vibrant, talented, imperfect nation of people from 100 different countries. Thus, conflicts, tensions and contradictions lie at its heart: Ashkenazi Jews complain the country is too Levantine; Sephardi Jews complain about deprivation; Israeli Arabs complain about their position in the nation; Orthodox Jews say the state is not sufficiently religious; seculars consider it antiquated in nature. Immigrants from Russia and Ethiopia, foreign guest workers, water crises, and the Arab-Israeli conflict also figure in the story.

This program to Israel and the West Bank offers students a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to take a journey through 3,000 years of history, politics, and religion. In the first half of the program, based in Jerusalem, students will experience the history, religions, and culture of Jerusalem through site visits and text study. In class, you will read fiction, poetry, memoirs, and essays by some of the most influential Israeli and Palestinian writers. In the second half of the program (based in Tel Aviv), students will be introduced to the religions and history of Israel from the perspective of Israeli law. Students will learn about the different religious communities of Israel and the historical evolution of Israel’s unique system of religious legal pluralism.Topics discussed include citizenship; marriage laws; women’s rights; refugees and human rights; holy sites. Students will visit religious communities and courts and learn about legal challenges directly from communal leaders and lay people. From the sacred space of ancients cities to cosmopolitan, high-tech beach culture, the Israel experience is unique.