Journalism’s New Israel Course

Published in the Mitzpeh on October 13, 2010

By Stephanie Weaver.

The Israel studies department is hoping to branch out to other majors and departments through new classes that non-Israel studies minors can take. For this semester, the department teamed up with the communication and journalism departments to create Special Topics in Journalism: Society, Politics, and Mass Media in Israel.

The class, taught by Professor Anat First, examines the relationships between society, politics, and the media in Israel, and the Israeli society and politics influences the media.

Jackie Nix, a senior communications major and Israel studies minor, decided to take the class because it sounded interesting. “I hope to get a better knowledge of the media in Israel and how they communicate differently from the media in the U.S.,” Nix said.

The class is about 50 percent communication majors, 20 percent journalism majors, and the rest are Israel studies minors, according to First. With such a diverse class, Nix said the class dynamics are “fine.”

The Israel studies department hopes to create classes that focus on other aspects of Israeli life other than Middle Eastern conflicts, which is what Israel studies courses tend to focus on according to Professor Yoram Peri, director of Israel Studies, said. The special topics class is just one of many classes the department has planned.

“We want to enlarge the number of courses on Israel and widen the scope of courses,” Peri said. With working with other departments, students not only from Israel studies can take the classes. Peri wants other students from other departments to benefit from learning about Israeli culture as it relates to their interests or studies. Peri also hopes to bring the Israeli culture to students who aren’t exposed to it or don’t understand it.

“We are in an important state in the world when Israel is on the news every day. Students should know about it and the different aspects. We believe that the intelligent young person should know about Israel,” Peri said.

Future class including teaming up with the sociology department for a women, gender, and Israel studies course. The department hopes to expand the classes to include Israeli music, art, and dancing.