12 April 2021. Web Forum with Univ Prof (em.) Dr ltzhak Galnoor

“Arab Citizens in the Jewish State of Israel”

Israel’s Declaration of Independence proclaims full equality for all Israel’s citizens and calls upon members of the Arab nation “to participate in the upbuilding of the State on the basis of full and equal citizenship and due representation in all its provisional and permanent institutions.” This solemn pledge has not been kept. Nevertheless, the growing pluralism of the political system has strengthened the foothold of Arabs in Israeli society and politics. The situation of the Arab community in Israel is still dire. The tenuous relationship between Jews and Arabs is under constant pressures, exacerbated by the 2018 Basic Law: Israel – The nation-state of the Jewish people, that undermines the status and legitimacy of the Arab citizens. Nonetheless, a change began to surface tacitly in the official state approach towards the Arabs – recognizing the justification of equality, particularly in economic terms. Politically, the last Knesset elections have increased Arab parties’ visibility and potential strength.
In cooperation with the Diplomatic Academy and the University of Vienna, Department of Contemporary History

Welcome: Amb. Dr Emil Brix, Director of the Vienna School of International Studies
Moderator: Univ Prof (em.) Dr Mitchell Ash, President Center for Israel Studies Vienna


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28 January 2021. Web Forum with Dr Shelly Zer Zion
The Shtetl in the Eretz-Israeli Theatre of the 1930’s and the Performance of ethnic Zionism”

The Eastern European Jewish Shtetl was much more than a mere historical reality. Historians and literary scholars agree that “the Shtetl” was a metaphoric trope of Jewish imagination, an autonomous space that celebrated an imagined Jewish microcosm. The metaphoric image of the Jewish shtetl migrated to the Eretz-Israeli culture and occupied the stages of the Hebrew theatre of the 1930’s. It became a shared fictional location that appeared in many artistic and cultural performative events. In this lecture Prof. Zer-Zion explores how the theatrical events that re-enacted the landscapes of the shtetl constructed it as a location of boundary work that conceptualized it as a landscape of Jewish past while negotiating it with the Eretz-Israeli reality and desired future. She focuses on three case-studies. In the first case-study she investigates the tension between peoplehood and the formation of cultural hegemony. On the second case-study she discusses the temporal tension between past and present. The third case-study focuses on the spatial tension between a net of locations that constitute Jewish identity vs. the centrality of Eretz-Israel.
In cooperation with the University of Vienna.

Welcome: Dr Eleonore Lappin-Eppel, Center for Israel Studies Vienna

Moderator: Doz Dr Brigitte Dalinger, University of Vienna/ Department of Theatre, Film and Media Studies


15 December 2020.  A Chanukah Story: The Birth of Jewish Studies at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem

The Institute for Jewish Studies (IJS) of the Hebrew University was inaugurated at Chanukah time 1924.  It was intended to serve as a source of illumination to the scholarly world, as well as a harmonious meeting point of east and west. With its birth, Jewish studies in Jerusalem was born.
This talk will explore the arc of the IJS from its humble Chanukah origins to the present.

ZOOM lecture: please click here
(Youtube Channel Center for Israel Studies Vienna)

About the speaker:
Prof. Dr. David N. Myers is the Sady and Ludwig Kahn Professor of Jewish History at UCLA, where he serves as the director of the UCLA Luskin Center for History and Policy. He is the author or editor of fifteen books in the field of Jewish history, including a forthcoming book with Nomi Stolzenberg on the Satmar Hasidic community of Kiryas Joel, New York. Myers serves as President of the New Israel Fund.

Many thanks to the New Israel Fund Austria for the cooperation and to the University of Vienna Department of Contemporary History for the support.

25 November 2020. Jewish Agency and Austrian Culture in Nineteenth-Century Jerusalem

In 1856, the Lämel-School was set up in Jerusalem as the first modern Jewish school in the city. According to the wish of the donator Elise Herz-Lämel (1788-1868), it should provide modern education to citizens of the Habsburg Monarchy in the Holy City. Elise Herz-Lämel chose the well-known writer and secretary of Vienna’s Jewish community Ludwig August Frankl (1810-1894) to implement the project. Frankl thus embarked on a lengthy journey to the Middle East. An analysis of Frankl’s different missions serves to illustrate the ambivalent position of Jews – as the European Orientals – in the Orient as well as Jewish commitment to academic, social, and cultural projects of Austrian society before the era of legal emancipation.
ZOOM lecture: please click here
(Youtube Channel Center for Israel Studies Vienna)

About the speaker:
Dr Louise Hecht: historian; doctorate summa cum laude in Jewish history at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, habilitation in Jewish cultural history at the Paris Lodron University of Salzburg, research assistant at the University of Potsdam. Research focus: Central European Jewish history since the 18th century. Publications include Ein jüdischer Aufklärer in Böhmen (2008) and the edited volume Ludwig August Frankl (1810-1894): Eine jüdische Biographie zwischen Okzident und Orient (2016).

24 June 2020. Discourse of Suspicion: Unpacking the Debate between Zionism and Postcolonialism
Welcome: Professor Barbara Prainsack
Moderator: Dr Eleonore Lappin-Eppel, Vicepresident of the Center for Israel Studies ViennaZOOM lecture: please click here
Youtube Channel Center for Israel Studies Vienna


About the panelists:

Dr Dani Kranz: 2009 Ph.D. in Social Anthropology, University of St. Andrews in St Andrews. Director, Two Foxes Consulting, Germany; Senior Research Affiliate, Bergische University Wuppertal, Germany; External Research Affiliate, Zelikovitz Center for Jewish Studies, Carleton University, Ottawa, Canada. Publications: i.a. “Thinking Big: Classical Jewish Studies, Jewish Studies Past, Present, Presence and Israel Studies Thought Together, in Intersections of Jewish Studies and Israel Studies in the 21st Century”(eds.) Carsten Schapow and Klaus Hödl, 2019, and “Foreign Europeans in a Post-Colonial Context: The Entanglement of Inclusion and Exclusion on Macro-, Meso-, and Micro Levels of non-Jewish, Foreign Spouses and Partners of Israeli Jews in Israel” https://grenzenlos.hypotheses.org/93, 2015.

Prof Dr Natan Sznaider: 1992 PhD in Sociology from Columbia University in New York, USA; 1993 lecturer in Sociology at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem; 1994 Associate Professor of Sociology at the Academic College of Tel-Aviv; 1998–1999 Visiting Professor at the Institute for Sociology at the University of Munich. Currently Professor at the Academic College of Tel Aviv–Yaffo.
Publications: i.a. “Neuer Antisemitismus? Fortsetzung einer globalen Debatte” (ed. with Doron Rabinovici and Christian Heilbronn); edition suhrkamp, Berlin, 2019; “Herzl reloaded. Kein Märchen” with Doron Rabinovici, edition suhrkamp, Berlin, 2016. “The Holocaust and Memory in the Global Age” with Daniel Levy, Temple University Press, Philadelphia, 2006. “Gesellschaften in Israel – Eine Einführung in zehn Bilder“, edition suhrkamp, Berlin, 2017.

28 January 2020.  Filmscreening ”Bureau 06: Architects of the Eichmann Trial”

Panel discussion with film director Yoav Halevy (Open Doors Films Israel), H.E. Ambassador Mordechai Rodgold, Dagi Knellessen (Junior Fellow at the Vienna Wiesenthal Institute)and film expert Dr. Thomas Ballhausen.
Welcome: Dr. Monika Sommer, Director House of Austrian History

About the film: “…This is the dramatic story of Bureau 06, the team of police investigators formed for the sole purpose of investigating and preparing the grave charges brought by the Jewish people
against Adolf Eichmann, during the trial that took place in Jerusalem, 1961…”


10 December 2019. Imaging the Unimaginable. The Holocaust in Israeli Visual Culture.

Welcome: Mag. Marianne Windsperger (The Vienna Wiesenthal Institute for Holocaust Studies)

Inspiring lecture by Dr. Anat Gilboa (Director of the German Project at Ben Gurion University/ Israel) at the Vienna Wiesenthal Institute, followed by an intellectual discussion elaborating on “Imaging the Unimaginable. The Holocaust in Israeli Visual Culture” Tuesday at the Vienna Wiesenthal Institute for Holocaust Studies.
What is the linkage between an iconic photo “The Boy” from the uprising at the Warsaw Ghetto, that has been “prettified” by a rather unknown Israeli artist, between the outstanding dance performance of Ohad Naharin ”Echad mi Yodea”, photos that break taboos and a number of monuments and memorial sites in Israel?
According to Anat Gilboa these are different expressions of Israeli cultural heritage relating to the Holocaust and commemorating the “Unimaginable” as it is perceived in Israel. The crucial question remains: how do we distinguish between visual culture versus visual art?
Dr. Gilboa uses categories to bring clarification: is it memorialisation, commemoration, re-enactment?
It was fascinating to observe a discussion that expanded into spheres such as gender issues (relating to Nir Hod’s painting “Mother”), to the question what is taboo (relating to the photo of three sisters, Holocaust survivors depicting their pain through showing the tattooed numbers of the concentration camp), to the question of my/your/our Holocaust as perceived by Holocaust survivors as well as by the Mizrachi (the Sephardic) community and by the Arab population in Israel. It’s all about the context one could argue and continue an ongoing debate of utmost importance regarding the loss of oral history, the loss of eyewitnesses and the loss of direct interaction.
With this function, the Center for Israel Studies sets off for a number of lectures dealing with the disappearance of vital voices remembering the “Unimaginable” . Many thanks to Mag. Marianne Windsperger and the whole team of the Vienna Wiesenthal Institute for Holocaust Studies as well as the ÖIG for this wonderful cooperation.

Dr. Anat Gilboa is the Academic Director of the German Project at the Ben-Gurion University in Israel. She earned her Ph.D. in Art History from the Radboud University Nijmegen in the Netherlands. Her dissertation, entitled „Images of the Feminine in Rembrandt’s Work” was published in 2003 in Europe and the US.
She was invited by the Center for Jewish Studies in the University of Graz, Austria to be their 2019 Guest Professor. Previously, Dr. Gilboa was invited by the UCLA Nazarian Center for Israel Studies to teach courses on Israel. She also held the Schusterman/AICE Guest Professor for Israel Studies at the University of Nebraska-Omaha, where she taught and published an exhibition catalogue, entitled „My Heart is in the East, and I am in the Farthest West“ (2014).
Her expertise is wide-ranging and includes, among others, courses on Israeli visual culture and film; Gender themes in Israeli visual culture; Jewish art; The Bible in art through the ages, as well as the art of the Renaissance and Baroque.



14. November 2019. Amnon Rechter. Why Do Cities Kill Themselves?

Welcome: Marie-Therese Harnoncourt-Fuchs


Rechter Architects-A Story of Three Generations the oldest architectural firm in Israel
Our architectural practice was formed in the 20’s by Zeev Rechter returning from studies
in Paris and designing a series of buildings from housing in Tel Aviv to public building
like hotels in Herzelia and the Dead Sea and the Concert Hall in Jerusalem.
In 1949 his son, Yacov Rechter, joined the firm and together they collaborated on the
design of important public buildings like the “Mann Auditorium” in Tel Aviv, The
Resort Hotel in Nazareth and Law courts in Tel Aviv.
In 1960 after Zeev Rechter death Yacov Rechter continued to develop and design many
significant and versatile projects that included Hospitals, Hotels, University Projects,
Housing, Town Planning Schemes and other major projects like the Center for the
Performing Arts in Tel Aviv.
In 1973 Yacov Rechter won the Israel Prize for Architecture for the design of the
Hotel in Zichron Yacov.
In 1989 his son, Amnon Rechter, received the Architectural Association diploma and
the Royal Institute of British Architects Part II. From 1994 he is a partner in the firm.
After Yacov’s death in 2001, Amnon continued to design major projects in Israel and
abroad, in 2008 Amnon received the prestigious award “Most influential architect
in Israel” for a theatre project.
Today we continue to design major landmark projects, Auditoriums,
Hospitals, Law-Courts, Hotels and Civic Centers.
Rechter architects is widely regarded as one of the top firms in Israel.






23 October 2019.  Book Presentation:  “Jitzchak Rabin. Als Frieden noch möglich schien.” An evening event with the author Prof. Itamar Rabinovich in conversation with Dr. Doron Rabinovici

Prof. Itamar Rabinovich, a longtime advisor and friend of Jitzchak Rabin, authored the most recent biography of Jitzchak Rabin.
On the occasion of the publication of the German translated version we were pleased to set up an evening event in cooperation between The Friends of the Tel Aviv University Austria, the Diplomatic Academy Vienna and the Israel Institute Washington, DC. . Prof. Itamar Rabinovich in conversation with Dr. Doron Rabinovici at the Vienna School of International Studies  (the Diplomatic Academy Vienna)
Chair: DI Alexander Gertner (on behalf of Dr. Hannes Androsch, Honorary President of the Friends of the Tel Aviv University)
Welcome: Ambassador  Emil Brix, Director of the Vienna School of International Studies  (the Diplomatic Academy Vienna)

Prof. Itamar Rabinovich, President of the Israel Institute Washington DC and founding member of the Center for Israel Studies Vienna. Professor Emeritus of the Tel Aviv University, Global Professor at the New York University. Former President of the University of Tel Aviv. Ambassador of Israel to the US and Chiefnegotiator at the peace talks with Syria.

Dr. Doron Rabinovici, author and historian. Member of the Board of the Center for Israel Studies Vienna.  Member of the Board of the Grazer Autorinnen – Autorenversammlung and Speaker  Republikanischer Club – Neues Österreich gegen Antisemitismus, Rassismus, Homophobie und Rechtspopulismus.

 “Mr. Rabinovich, the distinguished Israeli scholar and diplomat . . . easily establishes that the prime minister was a man of great complexity. . . . Even the warm esteem in which he holds Rabin does not prevent Mr. Rabinovich–a scholar with an abiding commitment to historical accuracy–from presenting a portrait of his friend in full.”–Elliott Abrams, Wall Street Journal






25. September 2019. Dr. Hanno Loewy: Totem und Tabu Israel „ausstellen“ im Museum

Jüdische Museen in Europa machen zumeist einen Bogen um Israel. Allenfalls werden dann und wann israelische Künstlerinnen und Künstler ausgestellt, doch große thematische Ausstellungen bleiben bis heute eher eine Seltenheit.

Und wenn, dann sind Ausstellungen über Israel und Palästina immer wieder ein Politikum. Einerseits spiegelt sich darin die Polarisierung israelischer Innenpolitik – und die grundlegende innerjüdische Debatte um Diaspora und Nationalstaat. Doch seitdem rechtspopulistische Politiker in Europa und den Amerikas ihre Liebe zum „nationalen Projekt“ der Juden entdeckt haben, wird auch in der nichtjüdischen Öffentlichkeit das Bild Israels zum heiß umkämpften symbolischen Gelände – in dem es schon lange nicht mehr nur um traditionelle antisemitische Vorurteile geht. Seitdem der Islam als neues und zugleich traditionell aufgeladenes Feindbild in Europa entdeckt wird, ist der Staat Israel zum wohlfeilen Einsatz in den politischen Kontroversen der Gegenwart geworden: um ethnischen Nationalismus vs. offene Gesellschaft, um liberale vs. illiberale Demokratie, um die Rhetorik des christlich-jüdischen Abendland, die gegen Einwanderung und Asyl für Flüchtlinge in Stellung gebracht wird. Wenn jüdische Museen sich auf das Territorium dieses Minenfelds begeben, ist öffentlicher Streit nicht weit – und er kreist um viele Fragen zugleich: Wieviel Kritik an Israel ist „erlaubt“? Welche Aufgabe hat ein Museum? Und was überhaupt ist „jüdisch“ an einem „Jüdischen Museum“ das mit öffentlichen Mitteln betrieben wird und im öffentlichen Auftrag agiert?

Hanno Loewy, Direktor des Jüdischen Museums Hohenems, reflektiert am Beispiel einiger Ausstellungen und sich an ihnen entzündender Konflikte unterschiedliche Strategien der Annäherung an eine offenkundig umstrittene Materie.

Hanno Loewy, geb. 1961 in Frankfurt, Dr. phil. Film- und Literaturwissenschaftler. Von 1995 bis 2000 Gründungsdirektor des Fritz Bauer Instituts für Holocauststudien in Frankfurt, seit 2004 Direktor des Jüdischen Museum Hohenems. Zahlreiche Veröffentlichungen zur Jüdischen Geschichte und Gegenwart, zur Film- und Medientheorie, zur Fotogeschichte und zur Geschichte und Rezeption des Holocaust. Darunter: Holocaust: Grenzen des Verstehens (Reinbek 1992), Taxi nach Auschwitz (Berlin 2002), Béla Balázs: Märchen, Ritual und Film (Berlin 2003), Gerüchte über die Juden. Antisemitismus, Philosemitismus und aktuelle Verschwörungstheorien (Essen 2005), Hast Du meine Alpen gesehen? Eine jüdische Beziehungsgeschichte (mit Gerhard Milchram, Hohenems 2009), Jukebox. Jewkbox! Ein jüdisches Jahrhundert auf Schellack & Vinyl (Hohenems 2014)