12002 Israeli Democracy: Selected Issues 1

Credits: 3 graduate credits in Democracy Studies

Prerequisite: Admission to the graduate program in Democracy Studies 2

The course is based on two readers in Hebrew and English edited by Benyamin Neuberger.

The course acquaints students with central issues in the study of Israeli democracy and with writings of major scholars from various disciplines including political science, law, sociology and history. It examines the relationship between Israeli reality and the democratic idea, presenting its major dilemmas and examining factors which explain this relationship.

Topics: The historical-ideational dimension – Jewish political tradition, Zionist congresses and the Zionist Movement, democracy in the Yishuv; The legal dimension – the issue of the constitution, the “legal revolution”, the status of the High Court of Justice, human and civil rights; The security dimension – civil rights and national security, civilian control of the defense establishment, security and the rule of law, military censorship, politics and democracy; The issue of the Arab minority – discrimination or equality? Majority and minority – theory and practice, the debate on the concepts of “ethnic democracy”, a “state of all its citizens” and “autonomy”; The issue of religion and state – religion and democracy in Judaism, religious freedom and freedom from religious coercion, the question of the “Jewish and democratic state”; Democracy in crisis – crises in the 1980s and 1990s, undemocratic and anti-democratic stands, political polarization, democracy on the defensive, the question of the stability of democracy.

1Students may not write a seminar paper in the framework of this course.

2Students who do not meet the entrance requirements may, under certain circumstances and with special permission, enroll in this course.