The course aims to present an accurate, fact-based, and complex perspective on the conflict.
Tel Aviv University is offering the first academic course on the Israel-Hamas war that began on October 7, 2023. Targeting international students, the course was launched as early as the first semester of the current academic year to provide a nuanced and accurate perspective on the conflict, countering the distorted and simplistic portrayals often seen these days on many campuses worldwide.
Thousands of students from around the world study at TAU Lowy International School, representing North and South America, Europe, India, China, Australia, Africa, and elsewhere.
By introducing the newly-designed course, TAU aims to raise the awareness of international students regarding the causes and impact of the war, in the hope that they will present a more nuanced and accurate picture in their respective countries.
The interdisciplinary course, taught in English, delves into the background to the war and its immediate implications for Israel and the global community, covering various areas such as conflict management, Middle East studies, economics, international law, security studies, national resilience, trauma studies, and more.
„The horrendous statements heard on many campuses around the world, especially in North America and Western Europe, are often a byproduct of blatant ignorance coupled with the consumption of information from dubious sources on social media,“—Prof. Milette Shamir, TAU’s VP International.
Prof. Shamir adds: “As a countermeasure, we offer students from all over the world an opportunity to learn about the war through exposure to well-founded facts, responsible research, and complex ways of thinking. This is the appropriate response of academia to the venom propagated on campuses and in the social networks.“
Dr. Nimrod Rosler, Head of the International Program in Conflict Resolution and Mediation comments further: „The horrors we experienced on October 7 and afterwards underline the need for a deep understanding of the dynamics of violent conflicts.“
„Such an understanding can be obtained from the academic knowledge and experience of the prominent lecturers who will teach in the course, providing participants with tools for dealing constructively with the war now and with its consequences in the future,“—Dr. Nimrod Rosler
“Positive ways for coping with the horrors are the key to resilience and hope for a better future,“ concludes Dr. Rosler.
The for-credit course consists of ten sessions, divided into two sections. The first focuses on the history of the conflict and the socio-political developments on each side leading up to the war. The second part explores the broader concept of war as applied to the current conflict.
Narrating Truth Amidst Conflict
The new academic course follows another initiative of the Lowy International School: a task force initiated by international students to assist Israel’s national effort to tell the war’s true and tragic story to the world. Participating students conduct dialogues on social networks with people in other places in the world, providing them with materials and information that present Israel’s narrative from the perspective of international students in Israel.
Members of the task force also conduct interviews with TAU professors on the university’s Global Connection podcast, providing an in-depth look at various aspects of the current conflict. Recent guests include TAU historian Prof. Havi Dreifuss, discussing the surge in antisemitism worldwide, and Dr. Carmel Vaisman, who shared insights on the role of social media in the present war, offering her perspective on the importance of digital platforms for the future of humanity.
The podcast guest host Ben Bright, an international master’s student at TAU, with Dr. Carmel Vaisman, a digital culture researcher and associate lecturer at TAU’s Cohn Institute for the History and Philosophy of Science and Ideas
As Prof. Ronen Avraham, Head of the Lowy School’s Parasol Foundation International LL.M. Program, explains: „This task force is a moving initiative of students, and I am proud that TAU provides it with logistical backing. We have already reached 1.3 million people and have thousands of followers worldwide.“
„The events of Oct. 7th will enter the history books, not only of Israel and the Palestinians, but also of the entire world. We will not give up our efforts to spread the truth, for the benefit of both our contemporaries and future generations,“—Prof. Ronen Avraham