Highlights from Spring Quarter and Center plans for 2017-2018

The Y&S Nazarian Center and its scholars organized and participated in conferences and other programs during the Spring Quarter in addition to sponsoring and teaching courses at UCLA. The Center is also looking forward to welcoming new scholars in the Fall and introducing new courses over the coming academic year.

Academic Activities

Our Scholars

  • Professor Cohen participated in the June 12-14 Association for Israel Studies Annual Conference at Brandeis University. He presented a paper on “The Regional Influence of Israel’s Water and Energy Resources.”
  • Professor Cohen also joined a panel of leading experts on water in the Middle East at Northwestern University's second annual "Water in Israel and the Middle East" symposium on May 24th. The focus of Cohen's talk was on Israel's advances in water treatment and desalination technology as well as the global benefits and challenges of these developments.
  • Center Research Fellow Nadav Molchadsky took part in the March 26-27 2017 Western Jewish Studies Association Conference at Claremont McKenna College. Nadav chaired "The Shaping of Modern Israel" and the "Israel Since the Six Day War” panels.
  • Visiting Lecturer Anat Gilboa also took part in the 2017 Western Jewish Studies Association conference. She presented her research on "The Drive to Reconstruct the Lost Past in a New Land," which focuses on an Israeli émigré and the role creativity plays in rebuilding a home in the US. She also chaired a panel entitled "Aliyah as Advocacy, Image, and Literature."


  • The May 4th “Six Days/Five Decades: 1967 and Its Significance for Israeli Security, Politics and Society” symposium brought together Israel’s leading experts on a variety of issues, including peace negotiations, Jewish-Arab relations, Palestinian politics, Jewish fundamentalism and Middle East economies. The scholars gathered to discuss the Six-Day War and assess its legacy. (Article on the program available here | Video available here)
  • Center Postdoctoral Fellow Roni Golan presented his research in a public talk: “’Shared Values’: Housing Affordability in Israel and the US.” At the April 26th program, he described the shared trends in the US and Israel’s housing markets in recent years, the impacts of increasing costs on various social groups and new techniques for measuring housing affordability.


Center supported scholars taught a number of classes in the 2017 Spring Quarter, including:

  • Modern Israel: Politics, Society and Culture (Jewish Studies M142/Middle East Studies M142)
    Nadav Molchadsky
  • Comparative Government: Israel’s Conflict of Identities and Its Society’s Identity Conflicts: Case of Arab Minority (Political Science 191D)
    Kassem Nabulsi
  • Multiculturalism in Contemporary Israeli Cinema and Television (Jewish Studies 177)
    Anat Gilboa
  • Choreography and Israel: (Hi)stories of Nationalism and Dissent (World Arts and Cultures 98TB)
    Melissa Melpignano

Grants Awarded

The Center has awarded more than $50,000 in grants and fellowships to undergraduate and graduate students at UCLA as well as faculty members since the Fall Quarter. You can see more information on the projects the funds were used for here.

The Coming Academic Year

New Additions

  • Shaiel Ben-Efraim will join the Center as a Post-Doctoral Fellow in 2017 Fall Quarter. Shaiel’s research project title is “Choosing with Whom to Side: US-Israeli Relations Explained through the Regional Balance of Power.” His argument is that US alliance and mediation policy towards Israel and the Arab-Israeli conflict are influenced by the regional balance of power.
  • Professor David Menashri of Tel-Aviv University will return in September 2017 as the Israel Institute Visiting Professor to teach a course on Israel, Iran and the changing Middle East (see listing below).
  • Professor Michael Shalev of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem will also teach courses (see listing below) at UCLA during the Fall Quarter on the society and political economy of Israel as a Visiting Professor.
  • Assistant Professor of Jewish Studies at the University of Greifswald in Germany Daniel Stein Kokin will join the Center as a Visiting Assistant Professor to teach three courses (see listing below).

Upcoming Courses

A preliminary list of new courses for the 2017-2018 academic year (a more complete list of courses will be provided in the coming months):

  • Iran and Israel in a Changing Middle East
    David Menashri
  • The Political Economy of Israel
    Michael Shalev
  • Social Divisions and Political Conflict: Israel in Comparative Perspective
    Michael Shalev
  • Symbolic Places and Spaces in Modern Israel
    Daniel Stein Kokin
  • Settlement in Israeli History
    Daniel Stein Kokin
  • Europe and Israel: The History of a Vexed Relationship
    Daniel Stein Kokin

Community Events

  • The May 21st “Israel in 3D: Civil Society in Action” community conference featured young Israeli civic activists, artists and social entrepreneurs. They discussed their efforts to address economic and social challenges in Israel and around the world. Veteran journalists – including Israel’s leading economics and business journalist and conference keynote speaker Guy Rolnik – also participated. (Article available here | Video available here)
  • The Y&S Nazarian Center Student Advisory Council organized a screening on April 5th of “Hummus! The Movie,” which looked at the food as a common bond between Israel’s diverse communities. The screening was followed by a hummus tasting from a variety of local Israeli and Middle Eastern restaurants.

New Website Feature

The Center introduced a “Guest Column” feature with the first column now posted on the increasing use of “restorative justice conferencing” in Israel courts written by Associate Professor of the Hebrew University’s School of Social Work and former Israel Institute Fellow at UCLA Uri Yanay. (Read the article here | Watch the video interviews with Professor Yanay here).

This will be the first in a series of other “Guest” as well as “Featured Columns” written by outside experts and Center-affiliated scholars respectively. These articles will address aspects of Israeli society these researchers cover, but in the context of current developments relevant to their research areas.