Discussion Papers


  1. The discussion papers are intended to engage you with the reading, an essential part of the learning experience.
  2. Specifically, the papers will allow you to demonstrate in writing your command of the main arguments or data presented, your understanding of the analytical path used to substantiate them, an evaluation of arguments/data, and an ability to tie them to broader themes related to Israeli culture and history in, and outside, of the course.


  1. Each student will produce four discussion papers during the semester. Each of the papers will count towards 10% of your total grade.
  2. Each discussion paper will be 1-2 pages, double spaced (font 12) and will be due at the class related to the readings discussed.
  3. An ideal paper will include:
    1. An accurate and succinct summary of the argument or data presented in the paper.
    2. An awareness of the way in which the argument was made, or data was presented.
    3. An evaluation of the argument/data. This could achieved through highlighting weaknesses in the argument, inconstancies in the reading or when compared to other unit, and internal tensions; and, or:
    4. An ability to tie the reading to other Israel related matters such as current events or other units discussed in course.

Final Research Paper


The paper is intended to deepen your understanding regarding a specific facet of Israel, through an analytical framework.

I strongly recommend that you choose an issue you are truly interested in. For example, you can review, analyze, or explore a question you had in another field and try to apply it to the Israeli case.


A good paper will use an analytical framework (a puzzle, a comparison) to explain the phenomenon you are interested in and will reflect original thinking and accurate research. Structure matters.  State clearly what the paper's purpose is up front, and summarize at the end how you have achieved what you intended to do. Possible frameworks could be:

  1. Identifying and answering a specific question you are interested in, such as, "Why does Israel have many international trade agreements?"; "Why does the Israeli economy grow mostly through expansion of its high tech sector?"
  2. Comparing a specific facet of the Israeli experience to one in another country. Here, a good paper will to draw a conclusion (or explanation) for the variation. For example: a comparison of the Israeli immigration approach (laws, institutions) to the American approach.
  3. Analyzing a current event: Here you will need to explore the background for the event, and reflect on it. For example: a paper that would analyze the US-Israeli crisis over the settlements should review the reasons for the Israeli-US alliance and the different approaches Israel and the US held over the years regarding this issue.

Here are a few guides about writing good papers in political science:

Procedural Issues

Papers are due at the end of our last meeting. They should be 5-7 pages long. Please use a citation system such as the Chicago Manual:

Chicago Documentation Style

You are most welcomed to submit an earlier memo (no more than one page) describing your project, and are encouraged to discuss any questions you may have during office hours. Note that style counts. Spelling mistakes, syntax and grammar issues usually make the analysis hard to understand and should be avoided.