Israel is a country of diverse populations who may be differentiated by nationality, religion, religious observance, ethnicity, culture, and more. The multicultural challenge characterizes the western world in the global era. In Israel the challenge is especially complex since it is an ethnic Jewish nation state. Therefore, Israel faces many crucial questions such as: How much should the majority culture dominate? To what extent should diversity be accommodated? How much of a voice should the Other have? How can Israel create a common public sphere in which all of these diverse communities can feel a sense of belonging – in which they can connect? Can there be a national identity or characteristics of a core, shared citizenship with which everyone can identify? Should everyone share a common language? A common educational system? What should be shared - and what should remain separate? These are legal, social and political questions. The course will focus on several case studies from the Israeli reality that will be analyzed using theories of multiculturalism.
Instructor: Michal Barak, executive director of the Center for the Study of Multiculturalism and Diversity