The History of Modern Israel – Part II: Challenges of Israel as a sovereign state


This course deals with the Israeli politics, economy, society and culture, since its creation in 1948 till today. It analyzes the construction of the Israeli historical narrative as an identity-building narrative, intending to inculcate a collective memory to a diverse society. We will focus on key events and essential components that shaped the Israeli society from the fifties till the present. We will also discuss the changes that the Israeli society experiences in its almost seventy years of existence and how it affects its politics and culture. Among the topics we will discuss issues such as immigration, economic transformation, political upheaval, religious Zionism and post-Zionism, privatization and Americanization, Holocaust increasing role in shaping Israel’s identity, diversity and multiculturalism, as well as the enduring conflict with the Palestinians and the Arab world.

This course is a direct extension of the first part “The History of Modern Israel: From an Idea to a State”, so if you have not yet taken it, we highly recommend you start your learning from there (
In order to receive academic credit for this course you must successfully pass the academic exam on campus. For information on how to register for the academic exam –
Additionally, you can apply to certain degrees using the grades you received on the courses. Read more on this here –
Teachers interested in teaching this course in their class rooms are invited to explore our Academic High school program here –
* This course is a joint effort of Tel Aviv University & Israel Institute (
* This course uses media material from various archives, courtesy to Yad Vashem Archive for their help.
* This course is self-paced. Once you register, you can participate in the course anytime, as often as you wish and over any stretch of time

What you will learn

Israeli Society: The First Years 1948-1967

In the first two decades of its existence the new state of Israel faced many challenges. Israelis at this period faced economic difficulties, insecure boarders, political challenges and social upheavals. Led by the Labor party, the new state absorbed huge numbers of Jewish immigrants who came primarily from Arab countries, as well as a significant number of Holocaust survivors. These projects and others required a collective effort and a spirit of commitment at the expense of individual needs and aspirations. Thus we can define Israeli society in those years as a mobilized society.

Israel, Between War and Peace 1967-1979

From the late Sixties until the late Seventies Israeli society experienced two major wars that had a huge impact on life in the country, as well as one peace agreement that altered the status of Israel in the area and reinvigorated hope for a better future.

Israel – A Society in transition 1977-1995

In this lesson we will discuss the essential developments that transformed Israeli society at the end of the twentieth century.

Changing Identity

This segment of the course attempts to explore the very elusive topic of Israel’s changing identity.

What’s included