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|JCIV 285 - Israel & the Balkans|
This modular course highlights the multifaceted relations that have developed between the countries of the Balkan Peninsula and the State of Israel since the breakup of Yugoslavia. Their encounter draws upon an acute sense of the 20th century tragedies as the Jewish people and minorities across the Balkans experienced genocidal policies and ethnic cleansing. Based on the Ottoman legacy, the Balkan countries and Israel also perceive themselves as “crossroads between Christian and Muslim civilizations” while wrestling with the challenge of integrating their own ethnic and religious minorities. From a geopolitical perspective, Israel and the Western Balkans are viewed as soft underbellies of Western security architecture and aspire to foster a stable neighborhood and regional integration. Specifically, they share a concern for the rise of Jihadi extremism, the refugee crisis’ destabilizing effects, Iran’s and Turkey’s muscle-flexing and rivalry, Great Power collusion, and the imperative to protect their energy needs and infrastructures. Ideologically, they tend to converge in their unwavering commitment to the national principle and the nation-state framework. Israel’s intensifying relations with the Balkan region in the broad sense (from the Adriatic coast to the Ionian, Aegean, and Black Seas) testify to the rise of a new and often overlooked geopolitical continuum between the Balkan area and the Middle East.
Together we shall explore Israel’s multidimensional engagement with the Balkan countries by focusing on three main questions: What are the main drivers and constraints of their relationships? What lies behind the US involvement in their relationship dynamics? To what extent can the Balkan countries provide Israel with a second circle of allies in the periphery of the Middle East?
This course is designed to empower students and young professionals with a keen interest in European, Eurasian, and Middle East studies in the foreign policy and national security realms. Students shall be trained to formulate security assessments and generate policy-oriented objectives and solutions.
1.000 Credit hours
1.000 Lecture hours
Schedule Types: Seminar
Jewish Civilization Department