Course:Hist105/Israel

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Week 2- Israel and Democracy

Currently, Israel is in a predicament as it's known across the world as the only democracy in the middle East but after it's most recent elections, many are questioning whether or not this is truly the case. Because the winner, Netinyaho, said that the doesn't agree that Israel should give Palestine a state, Israel ahs two options- remain a Jewish state, which would eliminate Palestinians and thus be undemocratic, or give Palestine a state- getting rid of it's religious aspects and remaining democratic. Source- https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/can-israel-remain-a-democracy/2015/03/20/49d766a8-cf06-11e4-a2a7-9517a3a70506_story.html

Week 3- Israel and Slavery

Currently, Israel has as many as 8500 slaves, a very low number compared the rest of the middle East. Compared to European countries, however, this is a relatively high number. The trend in Israel is driven by the sex trade and human trafficking that comes with slavery- it is estimated that there are around 15 000 prostitutes in Israel. In the 1990's, Israel became a destination country for trafficking, making half of a billion dollars per year, and was a desirable country because the purchase of sexual services was legal in Israel. The UN ranked Israel as tier 3- very low- for their anti-slavery laws, causing them to clean up their act and move to Tier 1 status. Source- www.timesofisrael.com/thousands-of-slaves-in-israel-global-study-finds/

Week 4- Slavers, Workers, Women- Gender Inequality in Israel

Gender inequality is engrained in the religious legal systems that dictate laws in Israel, for all religions. Because these courts are made up of men, as women can't be appointed- they are more lenient on men, and create a hostile environment for women. Many anti-woman laws and attitudes are found among the Abrahamic religions most prevalent in Israel, however ultra- Orthodox Jews have been most vocal in recent times. While things are difficult for Jewish women in Israel, they are much worse for the women of Palestine, whose rights are brushed aside amongst the ongoing struggle of all Palestinians. Source- www.thenation.com/article/the-war-on-women-in-israel/

Week 5- Class issues, terrorism and Israel

In 2006/2007, Hamas, a Palestinian organization took over Gaza, and still holds power there today. Hamas was founded in 1988 to liberate Palestine from Israeli occupation after the first intifada. Hamas, currently being lead by Khaled Mashal, is one of the most violent organizations in the world, and uses attacks as one of it's main tactics in achieving liberation. From 2000-2004, Hamas was responsible for killing nearly 400 Israelis and wounding 2000 in 425 attacks against Israel. The organization has been recognized as a terrorist organization by the EU, the UN, US, Canada, and Japan. Source- https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hamas

Week 6- Peaceful movements and Israel

The term Sumud is Arabic for steadfastness or perseverance, and is a type of of resistance used by the Palestinians as a tactic for liberation from Israel. Sumud emerged from Palestinians through resistance after the Six-Day War in 1967. There are two types of Sumud, the first is more passive and includes a maintenance of Palestinians on their land, as a vast majority of the Palestinians are peasants whose work depends on their land. The second is more dynamic, and the aim is to build alternative institutions that would undermine Israeli occupation. Palestinians believe that Sumud is rooted in their fight against Israel- they can't fight and then leave their land, and they can't just fight, they need Sumud to truly succeed. Source- https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sumud

Week 7- the PLO and Israel

After the second intifada in the 2000s, Palestinians began to believe that violence was needed in their liberation from Israel, but only because the violence they were enduring from the Israeli's was too much to handle peacefully. The Palestinian Liberation Organization, founded in 1964,believed in liberation through armed struggle. The PLO would use guerrilla tactics to attack Israel- many of which were considered terrorist attacks, including the seizure of an Israeli school, in which the PLO killed 26 students, as well as plane hijackings and other forms of violent attacks. The largest faction of the PLO is called Fatah- lead by Yasser Arafat. Arafat was named the chairman of the PLO in 1969- the same year Fatah carried out 2432 guerrilla attacks on Israel. Since then, however, the PLO and Fatah have renounced their terrorist ways, and are now called the Palestinian National Authority- lead by Mahmoud Abbas, and have control over the West Bank. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Palestine_Liberation_Organization

Week 8- Voting Rights in Israel

Israel's most recent election in 201 brought to light the issue of Palestinian voting rights. While there are millions of Palestinians living in the borders of Israel, there are 2.5 million that are living outside Israel under different degrees of Israeli control- in East Jerusalem, the West Bank and the Ghaza Strip. Within these territories, Palestinians have the ability to elect Palestinian officials, however this government has very little say over issues between Israel and Palestine. They are unable to vote for the Israeli government, the ones who have the most say over the future of Israel and Palestine. The problem is that international humanitarian laws state that those living under temporary military occupation don't have the right to vote, however it hasn't been temporary- the occupation has lasted around fifty years. What is even more unfair, though, is that Israeli settlers that have moved to these areas are still able to vote in the Israel elections, as long as the areas are under IDF control. http://www.nytimes.com/2015/06/01/opinion/israels-charade-of-democracy.html

Week 9- LGBTQ Rights in Israel

For a country that is so heavily influenced by the Abrahamic religions- Judaism, Islam and Christianity- Israel is hugely accepting of the LGBTQ community. Same-sex activity has been legal since 1988, and Israel is the most advanced country when it comes to LGBTQ rights in the Middle East, and one of the most advanced in all of Asia, being the only country to recognize a same-sex union in the whole continent. While same-sex unions can't be performed within Israel, this is because there is no such thing as a civil union in Israel- all weddings take place under religious laws, however same-sex unions are still recognized from other countries. Tel Aviv, the capital of Israel, is one of the most gay-friendly cities in the world, however things are a little different in Jerusalem. Because many of the most conservative sects of religions are found in Jerusalem, there have been issues surrounding LGBTQ individuals within the city, most notably stabbings at Gay Pride Parades in 2005 and 2015. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/LGBT_rights_in_Israel

Week 10- Israel and Palestine's Water Fight

While Israel claims the Six-Day war was based on the growing hostility of the Arab countries that surrounded it, many question the true intention of the war. This is because after the war, Israel claimed new territory, four times the territory it had before the war, and had control of double the resources of fresh water- including the water of the West Bank and the Sea of Galilee. Because many of the Palestinian's are peasant farmers, they relied on much of the water, yet at the same time, many Jewish immigrants were coming from around the world. Currently, while Israeli's take up 80% of water resources, Palestinians only take 20%. Palestinians are also prevented by military forces from their water, and they are forced to buy water from the Israeli's at an inflated price. Meanwhile, the Israeli government gives their own citizens 3-5 times more water than they give the Palestinians. http://www.bbc.com/news/world-middle-east-11101797


Week 11- Dead Sea Depletion While Israel faces the same climate change issues as most other countries today, it's water shortage is creating a major problem for the country. Scientists have discovered that the Dead Sea, one of Israel's most famous landmarks, is drying up due to climate change. The cause is the most terrifying part, however. Because no one draws water from the Dead Sea, the drying up is then du to the rapid elimination of it's source- The Jordan River. This causes huge issues, as the Jordan River is the primary water source for many middle Eastern countries- Israel, Palestine, Jordan, Syria and Lebanon, with Jordan getting 75% of it's water from the river, and Israel getting 60% of it's water from there. This means that the resource the countries are depending on the most will soon be gone, causing greater hostility between the countries. http://forward.com/news/israel/147829/dead-sea-drying-fast-a-sign-of-trouble/

Week 12- Israel and the Arab Spring With the revolutions happening Arab countries that surround Israel, many believed that Israel would be the loser of the revolutions. Due to the revolutions, Israel lost it's stability with Egypt, Hamas was strengthened through it's meetings with Arab leaders, as well as more weapons being smuggled from Egypt. Northern bordering countries also began to raise tensions with Israel. However, as time passed, it became clear that it had a worse effect on the surrounding countries and potentially strengthened Israel. In Egypt, the Muslim Brotherhood was defeated by the military, and began focusing it's energy inwards. Less smuggling then occurred to Hamas. Syria also then began facing it's energy inwards on it's civil war, leaving Israel alone. Iran and Hezbollah, Israel's biggest enemies, decided to funnel their money and efforts into saving Syria's government from the rebels, thus also leaving Israel alone. Therefore, Israel's security is still secure, and it's economy has remained untouched- therefore the Arab Spring didn't have the detrimental effect many believed it would on Israel. http://www.thetower.org/article/the-real-big-winner-of-the-arab-spring/