nl en

Contemporary Israel: Identity, Ethniciy & Community


Admission requirements

Some background in Jewish studies, Religious Studies, or Middle Eastern Studies is desired but not required.


Israel is home to a diverse array of Jewish and non-Jewish groups with each group bringing its own cultural mores, traditions and unique history.This course examines Israeli society through the lens of national, ethnic, and religious identity. Among the topics to be explored are: Israel’s policies and approaches to immigration; identity politics in Israel; ethnic relations in Israel; non-Jewish minorities in the Jewish state. This class will ask the question to whether we can talk about a Israeli culture from the perspective of a melting pot or a mosaic? A broad array of genres and modes of expression - not only academic writings, but also literature, popular music, film, documentaries and art - will be incorporated into our discussions.

Course objectives

The object of this course is to provide a basic understanding of modern Israeli politics, culture and identity through lectures, discussions and student lead presentations. At the conclusion of the courses student should be aware of:

  • The student will gain insight into the ever-changing identities and manifestations of Jews and non-Jews in Israel.

  • Zionist Historiography’s treatment of diverse Jewish groups

  • The demographic composition of Israel

  • The ethnic component within Israel politics

  • Concepts such as Ethnicity, Identity, and Minority.

  • The ability to critically read academic work.


Timetable Religiewetenschappen

Mode of instruction

  • Seminar

  • Films – compulsory attendance

Course Load

Total work load: 5 ec × 28 hours = 140 hours

  • Attending lectures: 2 hours per week x 12 weeks = 24 hours

  • Time for studying the compulsory literature and completing bi-weekly assignments (5 hours per week): 60

  • Preparation for presentations: 16 hours

  • Writing the final research essay (including reading / research): 40 hours

Assessment method

Assessment & Weighing

Partial grade Weighing
In-class participation 10%
In-class presentation 10%
Bi-weekly assignments (x5) 25%
Research Proposal & Outline 5%
Final research essay (4000 words) 50%

End grade

To successfully complete the course, please take note that the end grade of the course is established by determining the weighted average.


Students who have been active participants in class and submitted the final paper on time, but scored an overall insufficient mark, are entitled to a resit. For the resit, students are given a chance to hand in a new version of the final paper.
In case of resubmission of the final essay (insufficient grade only) the final grade for the essay will be lowered as a consequence of the longer process of completion. The deadline for resubmission is 10 working days after receiving the grade for the final essay.

Retaking a passing grade

Please consult the Course and Examination Regulations 2018 – 2019.

Exam review

How and when an exam review takes place will be determined by the examiner. This review will be within 30 days after official publication of exam results.


Blackboard will be used for:

  • for course information,

  • the weekly schedule,

  • announcements,

  • assignments

  • reading material

Reading list

This course will use a wide assortment of articles either supplied by instructor or available electronically through the University library. Below is a non-exhaustive list, indicative of the material we will be reading together:

Ben-Eliezer, U., 2008. Multicultural society and everyday cultural racism: second generation of Ethiopian Jews in Israel's ‘crisis of modernization’ Ethnic and Racial Studies, 31(5), pp.935–961.

Kaplan, S., 2002. Black and white, blue and white and beyond the pale. Jewish Culture and History, 5(1), pp.51–68.

Khazzoom, A., 2014. Jews in Israel. In Jews in Israel : effects of categorization practice on research findings and research frameworks. pp. The Social Scientific Study of Jewry (2014) 194–211.

Khazzoom, A., 2003. The great chain of orientalism: Jewish identity, stigma management, ania ethnic exclusion in Israel. American Sociological Review, 68(4), pp.481–510.

Lerner, J., Rapoport, T. & Lomsky‐Feder, E., 2007. The Ethnic Script in Action: The Regrounding of Russian Jewish Immigrants in Israel. Ethos, 35(2), pp.168–195.

Okun & Khait-Marelly, 2010. The impact of intermarriage on ethnic stratification: Jews in Israel. Research in Social Stratification and Mobility, 28(4), pp.375–394.

Shohat, E., 1988. Sephardim in Israel. Social Text, (19-20), pp.1–35.

Smooha, S., 2008. The mass immigrations to Israel. Journal of Israeli History, 27(1), pp.1–27.

Yuchtman-Yaar, E., 2005. Continuity and Change in Israeli Society: The Test of the Melting Pot. Israel Studies, 10(2), pp.91–128.

‘A conversation with Sayed Kashua on Arab-Israel Identity’ In Moment Magazine, 28/09/17


Enrolment through uSis is mandatory.
General information about uSis is available on the website

Registration Studeren à la carte and Contractonderwijs

Registration Studeren à la carte
Registration (Contractonderwijs](

Not applicable


Drs. S.R. Goldstein