Courses

Students in class​​​​

Students may be granted an exemption from specific courses based on prior study. To receive an exemption, you must present the syllabus of the relevant course you completed and also your transcript in which your grade in the course appears. Credit units are not earned for an exempted course. Students are required to take other courses to make up the credits required for fulfilling the degree requirements. For this purpose you may register to an additional seminar in which a short paper will be submitted (rather than a seminar paper).

Click here for information about our Optional Thesis-Track.

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War, Strategy and Military Doctrines - Prof. Azar Gat

Prof. Azar Gat

The course examines the question of why war occurs and its changing prevalence and form in the modern world and into the 21st century. We study doctrines of nuclear, naval, mechanized and air warfare and the challenges of guerrilla and terror. 

Syllabus

 

 

The International System - Dr. Uriel Abulof

Dr. Uriel Abulof

Napoleon’s final defeat, nearly two centuries ago, put an end to his conquests, but not to nationalism, the idea unleashed all over Europe by his army’s bayonets. The international system was born, marking the onset of the (political) world as we know it. In this course we will get to know it better still. What motivates people and peoples to pursue war and peace? What are the roles of philosophy, ethics and religion in global politics? How does economic and technological globalization affect statesmanship? Is the nation-state waning? What role do domestic policies play in setting foreign policy? These are some of the questions in the purview of the international system. We will trace the theoretical answers and examine them in view of socio-political processes and crises. The course aims to shed light on the literature and state-of-the-art research, to develop critical thinking and writing, and to foster a deeper understanding of contemporary issues in global politics. This is a graduate course, which entails intensive reading. Students are required to attend each class prepared for in depth discussion of the required reading for that session. Students are responsible for maintaining a high level of active discussion, and are expected to shoulder their share of initiating discussion.

Syllabus

 

Modern Diplomacy – Dr. Emmanuel Navon

This course offers an overview and explanation of the historical evolution and contemporary practice of diplomacy. Its purpose it to equip future diplomats with the historical knowledge and practical tools that are required in today's complex and challenging international environment. The course will cover the following topics: the history of diplomacy and of successive international (dis)orders; the challenges of diplomacy after the Cold War; Diplomacy and international trade/finance; Diplomacy and conflict resolution/management; Diplomacy, disarmament and arms control; Diplomacy, international organizations and NGOs; Public diplomacy and soft power in the age of social media.

 

Political Economy in the Global Age – Dr. Tal Sadeh

Dr. Tal Sadeh

Three major paradigms are known in the study of International political economy: Liberalism, Mercantilism and Marxism. This course examines the historical development of the international political economic system, the role of multinational corporations in it, and the politics of finance and trade, all from the different perspectives of each of the above paradigms. The course also emphasizes the respective roles of domestic politics and international politics in shaping the world economy. The discussion focuses on, but is not limited to post- WW2 system.

Syllabus

 

International Law and the Middle East Conflict - Prof. Robbie Sabel

Prof. Robbie Sabel

The course is intended to provide students with the background to the role that international law plays in both formulating foreign policy in the Middle East and in the attempts to solve the conflict. The course deals with basic relevant elements of international law including: The sources of international law; the role of States in international law; acquisition of territory, recognition of States, the law of the United Nations; the laws of war; the laws of belligerent occupation; human rights law; the rights of refugees; the law of the sea. The course will also study the elements of international law that are reflected in select documents associated with the conflict between Israel and its neighbours. Among the documents to be studied: The 1917 Balfour Declaration; The 1922 League of Nations British Mandate; The 1949 Armistice Agreements; Relevant UN General Assembly and UN Security Council Resolutions; The Camp David Agreements with Egypt; The Peace Agreement with Egypt and Jordan; The Oslo Agreements, The Arab League Peace Initiative; the "Roadmap".

Syllabus

 

The History of the Arab-Israeli Conflict – Prof. Uriya Shavit

The course will provide an introduction to the modern history of the Middle East and to the evolution of the Arab-Israeli conflict from its origins in the late 19th and early 20th centuries until the present. It will explore Islam as a religion and a civilization; the collapse of the Othman Empire and the creation of modern Middle Eastern nation states; the main ideologies that shaped Arab societies throughout the 20th century; the origins of Zionism; the rise of Arab opposition to the Zionist enterprise in Palestine; the outbreak of the first Arab-Israeli war in 1948 and the creation of the Palestinian refugee problem; the Six Day War, Yum Kippur War and their implications; the Egyptian-Israeli peace treaty; the ascendance of the Palestinian National Movement, the first Intifada and the rise and fall of the Oslo Accords; and the ideology and practice of Hamas.

Syllabus

 

Workshop: Middle East Crisis Simulation – Dr. Jeppe Plenge Trautner

Dr. Jeppe Plenge Trautner

The course engages students in a discussion of the analytical strength and practical applicability of current International Relations and Strategic Studies theories and concepts. It combines what the students learnt during the Security and Diplomacy programme with negotiations techniques to prepare them for a role-playing simulation centered on international responses to a fictitious crisis brought about by the Iranian nuclear ambition. The first part of the course discusses a constructivist interpretations of international relations (both the subject and the academic discipline), and invites students to consider their own pre-conceptions of war and armed conflict. During the second part of the course students prepare for the simulation, simulate the crisis, and analyse the simulation processes and outcome.

 

Academic Writing Workshop: two sessions – Dr. Udi Sommer

The academic writing workshop will provide students with the basic tools to writing good research projects in political science. We will discuss the formulation of a research question, learn how to locate and review pertinent scholarship (online and in the library), consider issues of reliability and validity, learn how to choose independent and dependent variables, discuss the formulation of a model and a set of hypotheses, and examine how to conduct the analysis and draw conclusions. After the workshop, students should be in a position to complete interesting, effective, engaging and professional research projects on questions of security and diplomacy.

 

Workshop: Security Field Trips and Ambassador Forum

The workshop consists of full-day security field trips to Israel's various borders and military, air force and naval installations. the tours are  guided by a colonel in the Israeli army (Ret.) and a senior military correspondent. The workshop also includes a visit to Israel’s foreign ministry and  meetings with ambassadors to Israel, moderated by the former director general of the Israeli ministry of foreign affairs.

 

Research Methods – Dr. Udi Sommer

Dr. Udi Sommer

The purposes of this course are to provide students with useful tools for engaging in empirical research in political science and to help students understand literature that uses a range of research methods. Students will learn how to think about theoretical problems in terms of empirical models – theory, hypothesis testing, data collection, presentation of research, writing research papers and a thesis. Finally, this class is intended to give students an opportunity to develop their thesis.
Syllabus

 

The National Security Concepts of the Arab States and Iran – Dr. Ephraim Kam

Dr. Ephraim Kam

The seminar is aimed at understanding and analyzing the conceptual framework of security concerns of the Arab states an Iran, their security considerations, as well as their approaches to cope with these concerns and to advance their strategic interests. In this context, the seminar will also examine the strategic strengths and weaknesses of the Arab states and Iran in the security arena, the way in which they perceive the threats directed at their security, and the answers they try to develop in order to minimize the threats. The seminar will deal with the main components of security concepts shared by most of the Arab states, as well as with the unique components of the main Arab states and Iran.

Syllabus

 

Terror, Counter-Terrorism, and Moral Dilemmas – Prof. Tamar Meisels

Prof. Tamar Meisels

The course deals with a variety of ethical questions concerning terrorism and counter terrorism, with a specific focus on the use of terror within the Arab-Israeli conflict, and the means employed by Israel in the course of combating it. Such questions include:  what is terrorism? Can it be distinctively defined? How is it distinguished from other forms of conventional and non-conventional wartime killing? Can terrorism ever be justified? Is Palestinian terrorism justifiable? What is the legal and moral status of terrorists and other irregulars? What means may be legitimately employed in the course of combating terror? Is the targeted killing of terrorists morally justifiable? To what extent may liberal states legitimately limit their citizenries’ civil liberties in the name of preventing terrorism, and in what way may they do so? What is a "proportionate" response to terrorism? Is torture ever justifiable? Is it ever excusable?

Syllabus

 

MA Comprehensive Exam

the exam is the culmination of the student’s coursework throughout the academic year and counts as 10% of the MA final grade. Questions in the exam will require the implementing of knowledge gained in all mandatory courses. Passing the exam is required for the awarding of the M.A. degree for students pursuing the non-thesis option. Students who write a thesis in the program are not required to take the final exam. 

Israel's Strategic Doctrine - Dr. Eran Lerman

Dr. Eran Lerman

Israel's survival in a highly hostile and volatile region constitutes a unique chapter in the history of strategic responses to national security challenges. What was the role played in this survival by a coherent defense doctrine? And what does this teach us about defense doctrines in general? Using historical and hermeneutical approaches, the course proceeds from an examination of Israel's predicament to an analysis of the remarkable vision and foresight of Israel's first prime minister and defense minister David Ben Gurion. The conceptual framework he devised – which culminated in the sweeping success of the Six Day War – will be studied against the background of Cold War realities. We shall then examine the current challenges to Israel's vintage 1953 strategic doctrine, which call for dramatic adjustments to a very different world. 

Syllabus

International Negotiations: Strategies and Tactics - Dr. Hilla Dotan

Negotiations take place every day in a wide variety of contexts; between politicians, diplomats, country representatives, business partners, roommates, landlords, parents, bosses, spouses, and even friends. We negotiate our salaries, whether we will exchange prisoners of war, allow asylum seekers, where to go to dinner, and even who will take the garbage out. Although negotiations are an inseparable part of our everyday lives, many of us know very little about our own behaviors in negotiations, the best strategies, and what makes an effective negotiation. Why did we succeed in a specific deal or with a specific country and not another? How come we can’t achieve the same outcome in a different context? Why do some people always get the best deals while others do not?

 

Negotiation is the art and science of getting what you want from the other side through back –and- fourth communication. It is the art of securing agreements between two or more individuals who are both attempting to maximize their own individual, organizational and/or country’s outcomes.

This course provides an exposure to advanced analytical tools, frameworks, a series of simulations and debriefings with the purpose of providing class participants the opportunity to identify, analyze and develop their negotiation abilities in our complex global world. The basic premise of the course is that negotiation skills are best learned through practice grounded in deep analysis and self-reflection. Although theoretical concepts and principles will be presented in class lectures and in readings, the course will focus primarily on improving practical skills in dyadic and group situations through a series of in-class simulations. Each simulation has been carefully chosen to address a diverse set of negotiation problems that are faced by diplomats, officials, ambassadors and country representatives in various private or public organizational settings. The simulations aim to build on each other and raise issues that complement diagnostic and technical skills taught in other courses in the program. A key focus is not only teaching participants a diverse set of skills, but learning to select the most effective strategy and how to apply the learned skills in a given situation/context.

Surprise Attack and Intelligence Failure - Prof Uri Bar-Joseph

For more than 70 years now, strategic surprise attacks have constituted the most common and effective means to achieve military goals at the cheapest cost. Many of the wars that took place during this period started with a surprise attack and, in most cases, the defending sides were caught unprepared.

The main theoretical thesis in the field is that the defender’s failure to get prepared is not the product of insufficient information about the looming threat but of mistaken comprehension of the available information. Some of the causes for this blunder, such as concealment, deception, or compartmentalization, are more unique to the strategic interaction between the initiator of surprise attack and its victim. Others, such as small group dynamics and the tendency towards cognitive biases, are well-known sources of judgmental errors in all fields and in everyday life.

This course will use four case studies of warning failures in order to shed light about the causes of warning failures: The German sudden attack of the USSR in June 1941 (“Barbarossa”); the December 1941 Japanese attack on the American naval base at Pearl Harbor; The November 1950 Chinese attack of the UN Forces under General MacArthur in the Korean War; and the 1973Arab attack of Israel on Yom Kippur.

The first part of the course will review the main elements of intelligence work (“the intelligence cycle”). In its second and main part, we will review the four cases of warning failures, and in the last part we will discuss the main theoretical conclusions from these cases.

Syllabus

American Foreign Policy from the End of the Cold War to Trump - Dr. Yoav Fromer

The end of the Cold War was a watershed moment in America’s relationship with the world that was conceived by many Americans as a historical validation of their way of life destined to usher in a “new world order” of American leadership. Instead, the past three decades since have painfully punctured that spirit of national self-confidence and witnessed the unraveling of those great expectations by various geopolitical, security, economic, environmental and diplomatic challenges. This course will review them alongside their subsequent policy responses through in-depth case studies (among them: humanitarian interventions of the 1990s, the September 11 attacks, the Bush Doctrine and the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, the Arab Spring, ISIS and Obama’s foreign policy, the rise of China, decline of the EU and the return of Russia, as well as the global financial crisis, NAFTA and globalization), in order to critically reconsider America’s role in the world today and understand how it was shaped. Among the key questions that will be raised: what have been the guiding principles behind America’s post-Cold War foreign policy? Has it succeeded in achieving them? Does America have global responsibilities and commitments – if so, are there limits to its exercise of power in their pursuit? And is America in decline, as President Trump has repeatedly suggested, and does his “America First” vision, actually restore – or further undermine – America’s global position? 

National Cyber-Security Policy: Local and International Concerns, Dilemmas, Solutions - Dr. Amit Sheniak

Our daily lives become increasingly dependent on information technologies, computer mediated communication and Internet connectivity. Correspondingly, the last decade has revealed the multifaceted threat that this dependency entails and has been marked by a shift in public and national perception of cyber-security related issues.

This seminar emphasizes both the similarity and novelty of cyber-security issues in relation to international relations, security studies and policy formation. It exposes the student to today’s main national cyber-security trends, focusing on dilemmas, norms, policy initiatives and emerging doctrines. Examining various national and international cases, the seminar encourages the students to develop their own ideas in regards to issues such as: cyber-deterrence, the offense-defense balance, attribution abilities, public-privet cooperation, security-economic ecosystems, data assurance, “fake news” and more. 

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