Fall/Winter Timetable

POL2321H1F L0101

Undergraduate Course Code: POL438H1F L0101

Topics in Comparative Politics I

Religion and State in Israel and the Middle East: Theoretical, Empirical and Comparative Aspects


The State of Israel represents a unique model of the state-religion relationship. On the one hand, since its independence Israel has negated the dominant idea of separation between religion and state and instead granted the Jewish religion significant multidimensional recognition in the public and political spheres. On the other hand, the Israeli regime contains crucial secular elements, including secular public education system, legal code and judiciary system. This course will explore different aspects of the Israeli model of religion and the state, its foundations, theoretical implications and applicability to other societies and religions. The first section will introduce basic theoretical concepts in the study of religion and the state. The second, most substantive section, will discuss the historical development and contemporary characteristics of the state-religion regime in Israel. The third section will be comparative in nature and examine recent political transitions in the Middle East, the role of religion in these transitions, and the ability of the Israeli case to serve as a role model for the state-religion relationships in emerging Arab regimes



Format and Requirements