Past Event

The Politics of Religion in Israel

October 17, 2019
12:00 PM - 2:00 PM
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Buell Hall 515 West 116th Street New York, NY 10027

A panel discussion with Katherine Franke, Yinon Cohen, Alain Dieckhoff and moderated by Chiara Superti.

The Israeli elections of April and September 2019 highlighted, yet again, the profound rifts that divide Israeli society. But the now familiar political haggling that ensued did not only reveal traditional left-right divides. More significantly, it put into sharp focus the religious-secular split which has become one of the key factors shaping Israeli politics and electoral behavior today. How did religious parties, which represent a growing number of voters, come to play such a prominent role in a country that was founded as a secular state? What role does demography play in this new political landscape? What can we learn from an analysis of social movements and generational shifts in Israel? How was electoral opinion affected by the successive failures of the peace process? What is the impact of Israel’s “Nation-State Law”, which, inter alia, establishes Hebrew as Israel’s official language and downgrades Arabic to a “special status”? And how does it affect Israel’s identity as both a Jewish and democratic state?

To help guide us through this complex set of questions, we are bringing together a panel of leading experts:

Katherine Franke is the Sulzbacher Professor of Law, Gender and Sexuality Studies, and directs the Open University Project at Columbia Law School, a venture that works to depolarize and deepen the discussion of Israel/Palestine on U.S. campuses. She is also on the Executive Committees of Columbia’s Institute for Research on Women, Gender and Sexuality, and the Center for Palestine Studies. She is among the nation's leading scholars writing on law, gender, religion, and academic freedom, drawing from feminist, queer, and critical race theory. In addition to her academic work she is the Chair of the Board of Directors of the Center for Constitutional Rights

Yinon Cohen is the Yosef H. Yerushalmi Professor of Israel and Jewish Studies, Columbia University. His research focuses on international migration, social stratification and labor markets. His recent research has examined the causes for rising inquality in the US. Cohen is also involved in research on Israeli society on issues of unionization, socioeconomic ethnic and gender gaps, rising inequality, changing immigration and emigration patterns, and the demography of Jewish settlements in the occupied West Bank.

Alain Dieckhoff is CNRS Research Professor and Director of CERI (Center for International Studies, Sciences Po). He teaches courses at Sciences Po, at the undergraduate and graduate levels. His main field of research is politics and society in Israel, as well as the transformations of contemporary nationalism. He has authored six books, edited ten others, published more than fifty articles in journals and edited volumes. His latest book published in English is Nationalism and the Multination State (London, Hurst, 2016).

Chiara Superti is the Director of the M.A. program in Political Science at Columbia University. She received her PhD in Political Science from Harvard University (2015). After completing her doctoral work, she was awarded the position of College Fellow in the Department of Government at Harvard University. Dr. Superti works on a variety of topics: unconventional voting, immigrants' political attitudes, and electoral politics in Southern Europe, Latin America, and Israel. She is currently working on a number of projects on unconventional voting in Cuba, immigration and trust in Israel, and electoral systems and parties in Italy.

This event is sponsored by IRCPL, Alliance Program, and Maison Française