MES 325 • RELIGION AND THE MILITARY IN ISRAEL-NEVER THE TWAIN SHALL MEET
9:00 AM-10:00 AM
Religion and the military have been classified as "greedy institutions", meaning they are unwilling to accept members whose loyalty is not complete. How can one be a loyal soldier when obeying a religious authority trumps obeying an officer? How can one be considered a "believer" when unable to fulfill religious commandments due to the rigors of military life? Israel is home to a unique arrangement between an armed force and a religious establishment that enables Jewish national-religious soldiers to serve in the IDF. This course will examine the potential problems and points of friction between the IDF and the national-religious segment in Israeli society; the mechanisms used to manage and prevent conflict between the frameworks; and will also delineate the limits of this arrangement. Additionally, the course will compare the arrangement with Jewish soldiers to parallel arrangements with other minorities in Israeli society and put the Israeli case in international context.
Three written assignments (10% each), final exam (70%).
Liebman, Charles S. "Extremism as a Religious Norm," (1983) Cohen, Stuart A. The Scroll or the Sword? Dilemmas of Religion and Military Service in Israel. Amsterdam: Harwood, 1997. Cohen, Stuart A. "From Integration to Segregation: The Role of Religion in the Israel Defense Force," (Spring 1999) Lichtenstein, Aaron. "The Ideology of Hesder," Tradition 17 (1981).