Events and Speakers

Upcoming Events

Monday, September 11, 2017
Welcome Back Reception

Meet the Berkeley Institute’s new visiting faculty, scholars, and fellows and learn about upcoming courses in Israel Studies, planned guest lectures, and student events coming up in the next year. We will also introduce various resources the Berkeley Institute can offer to undergraduate, graduate, and J.D. students. Light refreshments will be provided.

Please RSVP

6:00 pm – 7:00 pm
Warren Room, 295 Boalt Berkeley Law
The event is open to all UC Berkeley, students, staff, and faculty. 

Wednesday, September 13, 2017
Peace Econnomics: Commercial Diplomacy in the Middle East

Haisam Hassanein, Glazer Fellow at The Washington Institute for Near East Policy

Economic cooperation is often a staple of peacemaking and diplomacy. With today’s increasing commercial collaboration between Israel and Egypt, Hassanein examines the role of commercial diplomacy between the two countries and its effect on the “cold peace” left in the wake of the 1979 Israel-Egypt Peace Treaty. With an eye on the impact both current and future trade agreements have on normalization between Israel and Egypt, Hassanein will discuss the potential for closer formal relations between the neighboring states, as well as shifting the popular sentiment among Egyptians and Israelis from “the other” to “allies.

Please RSVP

6:00 pm Reception 6:30 Lecture
Warren Room, 295 Boalt Berkeley Law
The event is open to all. 

Tuesday, October 17, 2017
Robbins Collection Annual Lecture in Jewish Law, Thought, and Identity: “The Boundaries of Judaism”

Donniel Hartman
President, The Shalom Hartman Institute 

The factionalism and denominationalism of modern Jewry makes it supremely difficult to create a definition of the Jewish people. Instead of serving as a uniting force around which community is formed, Judaism has itself become a source of divisions. Consequently, attempts to identify beliefs or practices essential for membership in the Jewish people are almost doomed to failure. Aiming to go beyond the divisions that characterize modern Jewry, this talk will explore the ever contentious question of “who is a Jew.” Through a historical survey of the shifting boundaries of Jewish identity and deviance over time, this talk will provide new insights into how Jewish law over the centuries has erected boundaries to govern and maintain the collective identity of the Jewish people and will dsicuss creating a structure of boundaries relevant for contemporary Jewish existence.

6:00 pm Reception 6:30 Lecture
Location to be announced
The event is open to all. 

Wednesday, November 1, 2017
Ethnic Minorities and the Army: The Case of Minorities in the IDF 1948-1956

Rami Zeedan, Berkeley Institute Visiting Faculty; The Open University of Israel 

This public lecture will focus on some of the most interesting findings that were published in Dr. Rami Zeedan’s 2015 book: Battalion of Arab- The History of the Minorities’ Unit in the IDF from 1948 to 1956. Ben Shemen, Israel: Modan Publishing. [ in Hebrew]. The book examines the establishment, and the history of, the Minorities’ Unit in the IDF. It further examines the process that led to the recruitment of the Bedouins, Circassians and Druze into the IDF during the 1948 war. The book presents the activities of the Minorities’ Unit in the 1948 War, discusses the activities of this unit during its early phase and operation “Hiram” of the 1948 War. The book continues with the activities of the Minorities’ Unit until the “Suez Crisis”, along with discussion on the controversial relationship among the various minorities in this unit that led to a fatal battle within the unit between the Bedouins and the Druze. A major part of the book is dedicated to the Israeli policy towards the recruitment of minorities to the IDF in the first decade, and the decision to implement the mandatory conscription only on the Druze and Circassians since 1956.

Please RSVP.

6:00 pm Reception 6:30 Lecture
Warren Room, 295 Boalt Berkeley Law
The event is open to all. 

Monday, November 13, 2017
The Balfour Declaration and the World of Israel’s Founders

Donna Robinson Divine
Morningstar Family Professor of Jewish Studies and Professor of Government Emerita, Department of Government, Smith College; President Association for Israel Studies; Professor [Affiliate] University of Haifa

The Balfour Declaration helped shape a Zionist nation-building story that reflected a set of ideals rather than the realities of developing the Jewish National Home in Palestine. Nor did it reflect the trials, pains and losses of the nameless immigrants who deferred their own happiness to advance the Zionist cause. Divine’s talk will explain how and why the Balfour Declaration widened the dissonance between Zionist theory and practice in British Mandate Palestine.

6:00 pm Reception 6:30 Lecture
Warren Room, 295 Boalt Berkeley Law

June 25-27, 2017
The 34th Annual Meeting of the Association for Israel Studies

Location to be determined. 

Please stay tuned for our full fall schedule to be posted in August or email us at to be added to our mailing list!


Please click here to view the events archive/older events.