Dr. Jonathan Goldstein

History of Modern IsraelHistory  4485-25H

Spring Semester 2005

MW 2-3:15 PM

Pafford 206




The State of Israel is the largest Jewish community ever created in history.  By the end of this course you should become familiar with the history of modern Israel, including the legacy of the Holocaust, the ideologies of its founders, its geography, politics, economy, sociology, language, prose, poetry, art, architecture and cinema.  The course will also cover Israel’s minority communities of Muslim and Christian Palestinian Arabs,  Armenians, Druze, Ba’hai, and Circassians.  Finally, the course will survey Israel’s relations and non-relations with its neighbors, its place within a broader international context, and the prospects for Israeli society in the twenty first century.   This is not a course emphasizing the Arab-Israeli conflict.


[2]  ASSESSMENT PROCEDURES AND GRADING POLICIES   There will be a research project, quizzes, and mid-term and final examinations.  These exams will cover lecture material plus assigned readings.  The exact scope and form of the exams will be announced at the appropriate time.  Readings are due on the specific dates for which they are assigned.  Unannounced quizzes based on an assignment are possible on the day they are due.  The final exam will be given in the classroom and at the time specified in the spring semester bulletin in the classroom. 


Each student must do a research project, details to be provided.  Grades will be determined as follows:


Midterm                                                                               25 percent

Research project:  Due before class Wed. April 20             25 percent                                                                 

Final exam:  Wed, May 4, 2-4 PM in the classroom           25 percent

Reading quizzes, take home geography quiz,

and other miscellaneous assignments averaged                

together                                                                                25 percent


Attendance at all announced examinations is required.  Except under very exceptional circumstances, make-up examinations will not be allowed unless the professor has excused the student before the regular exam time for legitimate reasons.  Consistent with University policies, graduating seniors can exempt out of the final exam if they wish.  In that case, the final grade will consist of midterm 33 1/3%, research project 33 1/3%, and the average of quizzes and other miscellaneous assignments 33 1/3%.  Please notify the professor no later than May 2 if you are a graduating senior who wishes to exempt out of the final.


There are no pre-requisites for this course, although a general acquaintance with Biblical history  and with the Hebrew and/or Christian Bibles [“Old” and/or “New” Testaments] may be helpful.   




Office hours:  Office hours will be held in TELC Room 3207 on Mondays and  Wednesdays from 3:20 to 5 PM; on  Tuesdays from 8 to 9:40 PM; and by appointment.  Students who have questions or concerns about their performance in class or on tests or who would like simply to confer should take it upon themselves to see the professor.  If you have any problems or questions please do not hesitate to come by  TELC Room 3207 or telephone at 678-839-6034 or 678-839-6508 (leave message). 


Methods of Instruction:  The course will be taught through lecture, discussion, and a possible outside speakers and film.  I encourage you to ask questions and raise issues.  We have flexibility in our schedule and can take time to discuss issues you may raise. 




The texts required for this course are: 

S. Ilan Troen, IMAGINING ZION. [New Haven, 2003].

Arthur Herzberg, THE ZIONIST IDEA, 2d ed  [Philadelphia, 1997].


There also will be a number of xeroxed handouts distributed during the course for which you will be responsible.




Attendance will be taken. It is most important that everyone try to attend each class session.  Anything above three absences in this seventeen week class will be considered grounds for dismissal.  Leaving class early constitutes an absence, and two latenesses are the equivalent of one absence.  It should be made very clear that (a) students are responsible for all material presented in class; (b) examinations will be based substantially on this materials; and (c) a positive attitude shown by an absence of cuts and lateness can work to raise a student’s letter grade in borderline grading situations.



Out of courtesy to those students trying hard to concentrate, please refrain from smoking, drinking, eating, nail polishing, and chewing gum during class.  Please do not bring children to class.  PLEASE DO NOT BRING CELL PHONES, AUDIBLE PAGERS, OR ALARM WATCHES TO CLASS.  It is not sufficient to say “Oh, I’m sorry, I forgot to turn off.”  The student in front of you, behind you, or next to you may be on probation and must do well in this course. It is therefore essential that we have a positive learning environment in the classroom.


[7] ASSIGNMENT SCHEDULE.  A detailed assignment schedule will be passed out at the beginning of the semester, including the dates on which specific pages of the basic texts and handouts should be read.  Other general readings which may be helpful to you include:



“Mandate for Palestine” and “Israeli Declaration of Independence” in Walter Laqueur and Barry Rubin, THE ISRAELI-ARAB READER [New York, 2001].

“Protocols of the Elders of Zion” and “Balfour Declaration” in Paul Mendes-Flohr and Jehuda Reinharz, THE JEW IN THE MODERN WORLD [Oxford, 1995].

Jehuda Reinharz and Itamar Rabinovitch, ed. ISRAEL IN THE MIDDLE EAST [Hanover, NH, forthcoming].

Palestinian Liberation Organization charter.

Aviezer Ravitsky, MESSIANISM, ZIONISM, AND RELIGIOUS RADICALISM [Chicago, 1996], on varieties of religious Zionism and anti-Zionism.

Gershon Shafi, “Zionism and colonialism: a comparative approach,” in Ilan Pappe, ed. THE ISRAEL/PALESTINE QUESTION: REWRITING HISTORIES [London, 1999], pp. 81-96.

Aaronsohn, Ran.  “Settlement in Eretz Israel, A Colonialist Enterprise?: Critical Scholarship and Historical Geography.”  ISRAEL STUDIES 1:2 [Fall 1996].

Shimon Peres, TOWARD A NEW MIDDLE EAST [1993].

Benjamin Netanyahu, PLACE AMONG THE NATIONS [1993].


Other references:



ISRAEL STUDIES website: www.aisisraelstudies.org;  see also index to journal ISRAEL STUDIES, 1996-2004.

ENCYCLOPEDIA JUDAICA [Jerusalem, 1972].  In reference section of Ingram Library. 


[8] MAJOR TOPICS TO BE COVERED ON A WEEKLY BASIS:  Assignments are due and should be read for the first day of the week for which they are assigned.  Reading quizzes are possible.  Tentative schedule:


 Jan. 10: Introduction to course and research project; Historiography and historical geography of the Holy Land.




Jan. 19:   Historical geography of the Holy Land;  the regional context

Slide lecture.  Readings from book of the same name by Sir George Adam Smith, plus excerpts from Ilan Troen.   Take-home geography quiz.


Jan. 24: Jewish history pre-Herzl and the Zionist forerunners. Troen, Herzberg, Reinharz; excerpts from Mendele Mokher Sforim, “Shem and Japeth on the Train,” [1890], in Robert Alter, MODERN HEBREW LITERATURE [New York, 1975], pp. 19-38, on German and Russian anti-Semitism; Chaim Nachman Bialik, “City of Slaughter” [1904];  Adam M.Garfinkle, “On the Origin, Meaning, Use, and Abuse of a Phrase,” MIDDLE EASTERN STUDIES 27: 4 [October 1991], 539-50; Garfinkle, POLITICS AND SOCIETY IN MODERN ISRAEL.


Feb. 7:  Review Jan. 24 assignment.


Feb. 14:   The ALIYOT and the YISHUV up to 1939 Troen, Herzberg, Reinharz; handouts of excerpts from Garfinkle, POLITICS and  Ehud Ben Ezer HA-MOSHAVA SHELI.


Feb. 21:  The Holocaust, the recollectivization of the Jewish people, Partition and the  rebirth of the Jewish State.  Troen, Herzberg, Reinharz; Handouts of excerpts from Garfinkle, POLITICS;  Frank, THE DEED;  Slater, THE PLEDGE;  Kurzman GENESIS 1948; Dan Diner; and Arthur Koestler, PROMISE AND FULFILLMENT:  PALESTINE, 1917-49.


Feb. 28:  War of Independence, The making of Israel’s army [ZAHAL].  Troen, Herzberg, Reinharz.  Handouts from Garfinkle, POLITICS;  Chaim Herzog, ARAB-ISRAELI WARS;  documentary movie:  “Exodus 1947; ”


Mar. 7:  Review Feb. 28 assignment;  MIDTERM EXAM.


Mar. 14:  Immediate aftermath of War of Independence. Review Feb. 28 assignment.




Mar. 28:   The Land and the People; Palestinian Arabs and other minorities  Troen, Herzberg, Reinharz.   Handouts from Adam Garfinkle, POLITICS;  Bettelheim, CHILDREN OF THE DREAM;  Eisenstadt, ISRAELI SOCIETY;  Spiro, KIBBUTZ; assigned readings from Troen, Herzberg, and Reinharz;  Movies:  Sallah Shabbati” [Ephraim Kishon] and “Every Bastard a King.”


April 4:   Foreign Relations up through the Sinai Campaign.  Troen, Herzberg, Reinharz.  Selections from Goldstein, CHINA AND ISRAEL; Marshall, SINAI CAMPAIGN;   Walter Eytan, THE FIRST TEN YEARS.


April 11: Foreign Relations:  The Six Day War and Its Aftermath.  Troen, Herzberg, Reinharz, plus  excerpts from  Randolph Churchill, THE SIX DAY WAR and Michael Oren, SIX DAYS OF WAR  


April 18:  Israel’s security dilemmas.  Excerpts from Avner Yaniv, DETERRENCE WITHOUT THE BOMB;  Efraim Inbar, “Israel’s National Security, 1973-96, AAAPSS January 1998;  PAPERS DUE BEFORE CLASS WEDNESDAY APRIL 20.   


April 25: Foreign Relations/ The Yom Kippur War, Syrian Disengagement Agreement [1974], Camp David Accords [1977], Iranian Revolution[1979];  First [1987-92] and Second [1990-] Infitadas;  Hamas and Islamic Jihad; Negotiating with the Palestinians, Madrid [1991] and Oslo [1992] Conferences/Arrangements;  September 11; impact of Afghanistan and Iraq wars, Mombasa, and the War on Terror [World War lV].   Troen, Herzberg, Reinharz, plus  excerpts from Aaron Klieman, ISRAEL AND THE WORLD AFTER FORTY YEARS;  Chaim Herzog, WAR OF ATONEMENT;  M. S. Arnoni, RIGHTS AND WRONGS OF THE MIDDLE EAST CONFLICT;  Maxime Rodinson, ISRAEL AND THE ARABS;  Friedman, END OF THE JEWISH PEOPLE; and some contemporary readings.


May 2: The Peace Process/  Israel’s Future.  Excerpts from Efraim Inbar, “Arab-Israeli Coexistence:  Causes, Achievements, and Limitations.”  ISRAEL AFFAIRS 6 [Summer 2000].


FINAL EXAM AT THE TIME SPECIFIED IN THE SPRING SEMESTER BULLETIN:  Wednesday, May 4, from 2 to 4 PM in the classroom.