History | History of Modern Israel
B300 | 2757 | Troen
Above section meets first 8 weeks only
A portion of the above section reserved for Jewish Studies majors
Above section open to undergraduates only
The course examines the historical background to the birth of the
State of Israel through its formative years and the aftermath of the
1967 war. The first part of the course briefly traces the events that
led to the rise of Zionism, the Jewish national movement, in the 19th
century. It discusses the main tenets of Zionist thought and its
practical manifestations: immigration to Palestine and the
development of Jewish settlement (Yishuv).
The second part examines Palestine under British Mandate and the
origins of the Arab-Jewish conflict over Palestine. It surveys the
Jewish-Arab military confrontation in the 1920s and 1930s as well as
various plans to resolve the Arab/Jewish conflict. Special emphasis
is laid on the impact of the Holocaust and the rapidly evolving
events of 1947-1948, including discussion of the current
historiographic debate concerning the 1948 war and its outcome.
The final part of the course deals with the first decade of Israeli
statehood: the nation-building process; the formation of state
institutions and the consolidation of a democratic regime; the gap
between the dreams of the first Zionist visionaries and their
realization. It discusses Israelís security problems and the
socioeconomic constraints caused by the massive immigration and the
heavy burden of security. It then analyzes the internal tensions
resulting from Israel's nature as a multi-cleavage society (Ashkenazi-
Sephardic; ultra-orthodox-secular; Arab-Jewish). It continues with a
discussion of the relation between the new Jewish homeland and the
American Diaspora. Finally, there will be an assessment of the
current moment in Israeli historiography: revisionist and post-
Zionist critiques and the responses to them.
TEACHING METHODS: Lectures and organized discussions.
EVALUATION: two brief papers based on materials in the first two
sections and a final take-home exam that covers the entire course.
REQUIRED READINGS: Sachar, Howard, A History of Israel from the Rise
of Zionism to Our Time ( latest edition; I have one from 2000. The
publisher is Knopf) and a course packet of selected documents and