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Unit of study_

JCTC3001: Israel in the Modern Middle East

Semester 2, 2020 [Normal day] - Camperdown/Darlington, Sydney

Israel's position in the modern Middle East and the wider world from state formation in 1948 to the present has been shaped by social, political and economic processes. This unit aims to examine the main social, political and economic processes which have shaped Israel's history from the rise of modern Zionism to the present. Study these processes in the context of the major domestic and foreign policy decisions taken by Israeli leaders in connection with the Middle East and beyond.

Unit details and rules

Unit code JCTC3001
Academic unit Hebrew, Biblical and Jewish Studies
Credit points 6
12 credit points at 2000 level in Jewish Civilisation - Thought and Culture OR 12 credit points at 2000 level in Modern Hebrew
Assumed knowledge


Available to study abroad and exchange students


Teaching staff

Coordinator Michael Abrahams-Sprod,
Type Description Weight Due Length
Assignment Research Proposal/Annotated Bibliography
Short Answer/Essay
25% Week 05
Due date: 23 Sep 2020 at 23:00

Closing date: 20 Nov 2020
1000 words
Outcomes assessed: LO1 LO2 LO3 LO4
Assignment Research Essay
Research Essay
50% Week 11
Due date: 11 Nov 2020 at 23:00

Closing date: 23 Nov 2020
3000 words
Outcomes assessed: LO1 LO2 LO3 LO4
Participation Class Participation
Class Participation
10% Week 12 Ongoing
Outcomes assessed: LO1 LO4 LO3 LO2
Assignment Discussion Board Activity
Short Answer
15% Week 12
Due date: 20 Nov 2020 at 23:00

Closing date: 20 Nov 2020
500 words (2 x 250-word posts)
Outcomes assessed: LO1 LO2 LO3 LO4

Assessment summary

Detailed information for each assessment can be found on Canvas.

Assessment criteria

The University awards common result grades, set out in the Coursework Policy 2014 (Schedule 1).

As a general guide, a High distinction indicates work of an exceptional standard, a Distinction a very high standard, a credit a good standard, and a pass an acceptable standard.

Result name

Mark range


High distinction

85 - 100



75 - 84



65 - 74



50 - 64



0 - 49

When you don’t meet the learning outcomes of the unit to a satisfactory standard.


For more information see


For more information see guide to grades.

Late submission

In accordance with University policy, these penalties apply when written work is submitted after 11:59pm on the due date:

  • Deduction of 5% of the maximum mark for each calendar day after the due date.
  • After ten calendar days late, a mark of zero will be awarded.

Academic integrity

The Current Student website  provides information on academic integrity and the resources available to all students. The University expects students and staff to act ethically and honestly and will treat all allegations of academic integrity breaches seriously.  

We use similarity detection software to detect potential instances of plagiarism or other forms of academic integrity breach. If such matches indicate evidence of plagiarism or other forms of academic integrity breaches, your teacher is required to report your work for further investigation.

You may only use artificial intelligence and writing assistance tools in assessment tasks if you are permitted to by your unit coordinator, and if you do use them, you must also acknowledge this in your work, either in a footnote or an acknowledgement section.

Studiosity is permitted for postgraduate units unless otherwise indicated by the unit coordinator. The use of this service must be acknowledged in your submission.

Simple extensions

If you encounter a problem submitting your work on time, you may be able to apply for an extension of five calendar days through a simple extension.  The application process will be different depending on the type of assessment and extensions cannot be granted for some assessment types like exams.

Special consideration

If exceptional circumstances mean you can’t complete an assessment, you need consideration for a longer period of time, or if you have essential commitments which impact your performance in an assessment, you may be eligible for special consideration or special arrangements.

Special consideration applications will not be affected by a simple extension application.

Using AI responsibly

Co-created with students, AI in Education includes lots of helpful examples of how students use generative AI tools to support their learning. It explains how generative AI works, the different tools available and how to use them responsibly and productively.

WK Topic Learning activity Learning outcomes
Week 01 Timeline and Overview Lecture (2 hr)  
Timeline and overview. General organisation for the unit. Tutorial (1 hr)  
Week 02 The Genesis of Jewish Nationalism and Zionism: What was the Jewish condition in the transition from traditional society to modernity? What is the meaning of 'nationalism'? The genesis of Jewish nationalism in its Zionist form; why and how? Lecture (2 hr)  
The question of emancipation. Herzl's and Pinsker's assessment of the Jewish condition of the time. Tutorial (1 hr)  
Week 03 The Ideology and Practice of Zionism: What was the common denominator of Zionist ideology? What were the main contours of divergence in Zionist ideologies? Lecture (2 hr)  
The role of socialist-labour Zionism. Tutorial (1 hr)  
Week 04 Socialist, Religious, General and Revisionist Zionism and the Emergence of Israel: What were the ideological amd policy characteristics of the various schools of Zionism? In practice, how did these interact in relation to Britain and the Palestinian Arabs? Lecture (2 hr)  
Commonalities and differences in the Zionist camp in regard to the Arabs and the British. Tutorial (1 hr)  
Week 05 Jewish and Israeli Identities in Contemporary Israel: What are the origins of secular Jewishness? Israeli identity and Jewish identity: A distinction with a difference? What are the criteria for evaluating the dimensions of Jewishness in Israel? Can a pan-Jewish common denominator be defined? Lecture (2 hr)  
Jewish and Israeli identities in Israel. Tutorial (1 hr)  
Week 06 The Holocaust and Revivalism in Israel: The evolving position of the Holocaust in relation to Israel's national identity. Lecture (2 hr)  
The impact of the Holocaust on the creation of the State of Israel and the evolution of the perception of the Holocaust since 1948. Tutorial (1 hr)  
Week 07 The Nature and Problems of Israeli Democracy and the Status of Religion in Israel: How does religion impact on Israeli society? Does Israel answer the criteria for a democracy? In what sense is Israel a Jewish state? Is being a Jewish state and a democracy viable? Guest Lecturer: Prof Suzanne Rutland Lecture (2 hr)  
'Ethnic democracy' and Israel. Tutorial (1 hr)  
Week 08 With Eyes toward Zion: The Holy-Language, The Holy Scriptures and the Holy Land in Western Civilisation especially in the USA and Europe as Reflected in the Templer Story. Guest Lecturer (first hour): Prof Suzanne Rutland. Christian Zionism and Christians and Zionism. Lecture (2 hr)  
Christians attracted to Palestine in the nineteenth century. Christians and Zionism. Tutorial (1 hr)  
Week 09 Majority/Minority Groupings in Israel: Palestinian Arabs; Mizrachim/Sephardim; Russians; and the Status of Women in Israel. Lecture (2 hr)  
Women in Israeli society. Palestinian Arab Israelis and the state. Tutorial (1 hr)  
Week 10 The Six Day War and the Changes in Israeli Society: What were the major changes post 1967? How has this affected Jerusalem? How have the settlements impacted on Israel as a whole? Lecture (2 hr)  
What has been the position of Israel on Jerusalem? Tutorial (1 hr)  
Week 11 Israel in the Media and Politics: The role played by the Israeli and international media in shaping perceptions and images of Israeli society, culture and politics. Lecture (2 hr)  
The impact of the media in representing Israel and presenting perceptions of it. Tutorial (1 hr)  
Week 12 The Evolution of the Israeli Economy: From Socialist Agrarian Utopia to High Tech Capitalism. The Current Debate over Zionism and Post-Zionism: Having established the State of Israel, what does Zionism mean today? Who opposes Zionism today and why? What is Post-Zionism in Israel today? What are the critical ideological rift lines in Israeli society and Diaspora Jewry today? Lecture (2 hr)  
The role of the kibbutzim and the moshavim and the economy as an evolutionary force. The debate over Zionism and Post-Zionism. Core arguments of the Post-Zionist proponents and objections to Post-Zionist advocacy. Tutorial (1 hr)  

Attendance and class requirements

  • Attendance: According to Faculty Board Resolutions, students in the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences are expected to attend 90% of their classes. If you attend less than 50% of classes, regardless of the reasons, you may be referred to the Examiner’s Board. The Examiner’s Board will decide whether you should pass or fail the unit of study if your attendance falls below this threshold.
  • Lecture recording: Most lectures (in recording-equipped venues) will be recorded and may be made available to students on Canvas. However, you should not rely on lecture recording to substitute your classroom learning experience.
  • Preparation: Students should commit to spend approximately three hours’ preparation time (reading, studying, homework, essays, etc.) for every hour of scheduled instruction.

Study commitment

Typically, there is a minimum expectation of 1.5-2 hours of student effort per week per credit point for units of study offered over a full semester. For a 6 credit point unit, this equates to roughly 120-150 hours of student effort in total.

Required readings

Detailed information for all reading requirements and readings for this unit can be found on Canvas.

Learning outcomes are what students know, understand and are able to do on completion of a unit of study. They are aligned with the University's graduate qualities and are assessed as part of the curriculum.

At the completion of this unit, you should be able to:

  • LO1. Understand concepts such as Zionism and Post-Zionism
  • LO2. Understand the development of the State of Israel and the main internal challenges facing its society
  • LO3. Gain an insight into the complexities of the creation and existence of a Jewish state
  • LO4. Analyse the reasons for the growing tensions both within and without of Israeli society.

Graduate qualities

The graduate qualities are the qualities and skills that all University of Sydney graduates must demonstrate on successful completion of an award course. As a future Sydney graduate, the set of qualities have been designed to equip you for the contemporary world.

GQ1 Depth of disciplinary expertise

Deep disciplinary expertise is the ability to integrate and rigorously apply knowledge, understanding and skills of a recognised discipline defined by scholarly activity, as well as familiarity with evolving practice of the discipline.

GQ2 Critical thinking and problem solving

Critical thinking and problem solving are the questioning of ideas, evidence and assumptions in order to propose and evaluate hypotheses or alternative arguments before formulating a conclusion or a solution to an identified problem.

GQ3 Oral and written communication

Effective communication, in both oral and written form, is the clear exchange of meaning in a manner that is appropriate to audience and context.

GQ4 Information and digital literacy

Information and digital literacy is the ability to locate, interpret, evaluate, manage, adapt, integrate, create and convey information using appropriate resources, tools and strategies.

GQ5 Inventiveness

Generating novel ideas and solutions.

GQ6 Cultural competence

Cultural Competence is the ability to actively, ethically, respectfully, and successfully engage across and between cultures. In the Australian context, this includes and celebrates Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures, knowledge systems, and a mature understanding of contemporary issues.

GQ7 Interdisciplinary effectiveness

Interdisciplinary effectiveness is the integration and synthesis of multiple viewpoints and practices, working effectively across disciplinary boundaries.

GQ8 Integrated professional, ethical, and personal identity

An integrated professional, ethical and personal identity is understanding the interaction between one’s personal and professional selves in an ethical context.

GQ9 Influence

Engaging others in a process, idea or vision.

Outcome map

Learning outcomes Graduate qualities

This section outlines changes made to this unit following staff and student reviews.

Changes to this unit are made in each iteration of this unit, based on the USS and other pedagogic matters.


The University reserves the right to amend units of study or no longer offer certain units, including where there are low enrolment numbers.

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