The International Master’s Degree Program in Israel Studies delves into the study of the State of Israel, covering periods of the beginning of the Zionist movement to the present day. The program aims to showcase the experiences of the Israeli population from a range of perspectives, against the wider backdrop of twentieth-century Jewish history, Middle Eastern politics and society.
A recent graduate of the program, Tzvi, commented on his experience in the classroom, including coursework on: Zionism, Ideology, and Gender with Dr. Esther Carmel-Hakim, The Holocaust and Israeli Society with Dr. Ronit Fisher, and The Social History of the Palestinian Society (1900-1948) with Dr. Na’ama Ben Ze’ev.
He spoke a bit about the courses on Zionism, “Doing a lot of reviews of proto-zionists now and about to move to all the names you already have heard of…Herzl, Jabotinsky, etc…. now going in depth and best part, learning about the women zionists. Best part of our last class was watching Haim Herzog’s UN speech in 1975.”
He also had high praise for Dr. Na’ama Ben Ze’ev’s course. “My class on the Palestinians is one of the best I’ve taken. The whole class is deviating from the “normal” discourse of history. We are looking at the social history (which means we aren’t talking about politics or national narratives), which most of our classes have focused on until this point. The first subject we are discussing is land ownership, disposition, and immigration.”
Coming to Haifa for Israel Studies is a unique experience. An integral part of the program is the fact that students take advantage of field work, attaining first-hand experience in the country they are learning about. In addition, students have the chance to study with others from all over the world, as well as benefit from world class intellectuals of the topic. “My classmates come from all different backgrounds, ages, countries, religions, and focuses of study,” Tzvi explained, “Its very interesting to hear why everyone choose to do an MA in Israel Studies…I’m really liking the professors as well. They really are passionate about what they are teaching and not doing it just as a job. They really want to challenge us and guide us to learn and research what interests us. Its nice having a lot of advocates for a subject that I’m passionate about.”