Program and Events

Guests Lecture Series

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    Dr. Shelly Zer-Zion. The Shtetl in the Eretz-Israeli Theatre of the 1930's and the performance of ethnic Zionism

    7:30 pmWEB FORUM Center for Israel Studies Vienna

    The Shtetl in the Eretz-Israeli Theatre of the 1930s and the performance of ethnic Zionism

    During the 1930s the two Hebrew repertoire theatre companies of the Yishuv, Habima, and the Ohel, performed a large corpus of plays dealing with the landscapes of the Eastern European Jewish shtetl.  Their fascination with the shtetl is surprising, considering the fact that these two companies were deeply committed to the Zionist project, whose ethos was the building of a new society in Eretz-Israel and the negation of the diasporic Jewish existence.  In this lecture, I would like to explore the landscapes of the shtetl as they were presented on the Hebrew stage of the 1930s and to analyze their aesthetic and cultural meaning for their audience at that time. I would like to show that the shtetl plays formed a memory landscape that served as a mechanism for the formation of a modern, consolidated, ethnic Jewish collective in Palestine, which shared a unified narrative of its past as well as national aspirations for the future.

    About the speaker:
    Dr.  Shelly Zer-Zion
    is a faculty member at the department of theatre at the University of Haifa. Prior to this position, she was a Fulbright post-doctoral scholar at NYU and the director of the Israeli Center for the Documentation of the Performing Arts. Her research focuses on the history of modern Jewish theatre in Hebrew and Yiddish, and its role in the formation of Jewish national culture.  She published numerous articles on the subject in journals such as the Journal of Modern Jewish Studies and Jewish Social Studies. She is the author of the book Habima in Berlin: The Institutionalization of a Zionist Theatre (Magness Press, 2015). A German version of the book was published in Fink Verlag in 2016. She is a co-editor of the volume Habima: New Studies on National Theatre (Resling, 2017).

    Moderator: Doz. Dr. Brigitte Dalinger, University of Vienna
    Welcome: Dr. Eleonore Lappin-Eppel


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    Panel Discussion with Prof. Dr. Yael Hashiloni-Dolev and Prof. Dr. Katharina T. Paul. “Vaccination for Covid-19: Public views and experiences in Israel and Austria”

    6:00 pmWEB FORUM Center for Israel Studies Vienna

    WEB FORUM Center for Israel Studies Vienna

    Panel Discussion with Prof. Dr. Yael Hashiloni-Dolev and  Prof. Dr. Katharina T. Paul

    Topic: “Vaccination for Covid-19: Public views and experiences in Israel and Austria”

    When it comes to vaccination for Covid-19, it seems, Israel and Austria could not be more different: Vaccination programmes are progressing at very different paces, and vaccine skepticism is differently distributed as well. What are the reasons for this? And is everything really as different as it seems at first sight? Two experts in the sociology of health and vaccination policy respectively will answer these and any other questions that participants may have.

    Welcome: Prof. Dr. Mitchell Ash, President Center for Israel Studies Vienna

    Moderator: Prof. Dr. Barbara Prainsack, University of Vienna

    Date: Wednesday, 10 March 2021, 18:00 (6:00 pm, Vienna Time)

    This event will take place in English. It will be broadcast live at the Center for Israel Studies FB Page. Our virtual panel will be recorded and will be available on our website and on our Youtube Channel after the event. Please register at: (we will send you the link to our Zoom event)


    About the panelists:

    Prof. Dr. Yael Hashiloni-Dolev is a sociologist of health and illness at the Ben Gurion University of the Negev. She is a former member (2012-20) of Israel’s National Bioethics Council. Her areas of interest include new reproductive technologies, genetics, gender, bioethics, contemporary parenthood and posthumous reproduction. She is also a member of Israel’s vaccination prioritization committee.

    Prof Dr. Katharina T. Paul holds a PhD from the University of Amsterdam and joined the University of Vienna in 2013. Her research on vaccination policy is funded by the Austrian Science Fund (FWF). She is affiliated with the Centre for the Study of Contemporary Solidarity (CeSCoS) and the Department of Political Science at the University of Vienna, Austria.

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    Prof.(em.) Dr. Itzhak Galnoor: "Arab Citizens in the Jewish State of Israel"

    6:00 pmWEB FORUM Center for Israel Studies Vienna

    Please register at:

    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.


    About the speaker

    Itzhak Galnoor: Herbert Samuel Professor of Political Science at The Hebrew University of Jerusalem (emeritus); senior fellow at the Van Leer Institute, Jerusalem. He served on the Executive Committee of the International Political Science Association (IPSA), and edited its Advances in Political Science, (Cambridge University Press) book series. Head of the Civil Service Commission in Prime Minister Rabin government (1994–96); The Israel Science Foundation's Executive Committee and on the Governing Board of Hebrew University of Jerusalem.  In 2007-2008 he was the Deputy Chair of the Israeli Council of Higher Education. In 2015 he was awarded the Life Achievement Prize by the Association of Israel Studies (AIS). Latest English books:

    The Handbook of Israel's Political System, (with Dana Blander), Cambridge University Press, 2018.

    The Privatization of Israel: The Withdrawal of State Responsibility (with Amir Paz-Fuchs and Ronen Mandelkern), eds., Palgrave-Macmillan, 2018.

    "Arab Citizens in the 'Jewish and Democratic' State of Israel," in Reuven Y. Hazan, Alan Dowty, Menachem Hofnung, and Gideon Rahat, eds., Oxford Handbook of Israeli Politics and Society (forthcoming).

    In cooperation with the Vienna School of International Studies and the support of the University of Vienna, the Department of Contemporary History

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    Book Launch: Prof. Itamar Rabinovich: "Syrian Requiem: The Civil War and Its Aftermath"

    7:00 pmWEB FORUM Center for Israel Studies Vienna

    Syrian Requiem: The Civil War and Its Aftermath
    A compact, incisive history of one of the defining conflicts of our time

    see also:  Princeton University Press 

    An evening event in cooperation with the Vienna School of International Studies.

    Welcome Note: Amb. Dr. Emil Brix
    Moderation: Prof. Dr. Mitchell Ash, President Center for Israel Studies Vienna


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    Dr. Anat Gilboa: “The Legacy of Helmar Lerski”

    7:00 pmWeb Forum

    About Helmar Lerski:

    Conducting a course on Israeli visual culture at UCLA, Dr. Gilboa
    stumbled upon black & white photographed series, entitled _Metamorphose,
    Verwandlungen durch Licht by Helmar Lerski_ (1936). The stark contrast
    caused by lighting, dramatic close-ups and types presented, is a
    reminder of Russian propaganda posters in 1917 as well as Nazi statues
    from the 1930s. What struck Anat Gilboa the most was the fact that
    Lerski, an avid Zionist, created these images during the period he was
    residing in Mandatory Palestine.

    Dr. Gilboa presented the initial study at an international conference in
    UCLA in 2013, and has been researching this topic ever since.


    The cinematographer and photographer Helmar Lerski was invited to work
    in Mandatory Palestine from 1932 to 1948. The local Arab Revolt and the
    mass immigration of German Jews into the area, in response to the
    Nuremberg Race Laws, inspired Lerski to create a photographic portfolio
    in 1936. For a model, the artist chose a young man of European descent,
    shooting on a roof-top in Tel-Aviv with help of large mirrors. The
    outcome is a series of different personalities, among them a young hero,
    a Jewish prophet, an Arab sheik wearing a headdress, and the likeness of
    an old nun. Dr. Gilboa argues that Lerski’s 1936 photographic portfolio
    is a reference to Ovid’s _Metamorphoses_, Franz Kafka’s novella
    _Metamorphosis_, and an indication to contemporary German-speaking
    Expressionist perceptions of ‘Verwandlungen’ and 'Wandlung’ as metaphors
    for unwelcome change, fear and demise.

    Notions of depravation, degradation, misery and poverty were described
    in contemporary literary works such as in Ernst Toller’s theatre play
    _Die Wandlung_ (1919), Bertholt Brecht’s _Dreigroschenoper_ (1928), and
    in Alfred Döblin’s novel _Berlin-Alexanderplatz (1929). Similar themes
    were depicted in silent movies such as _Das Wachsfigurenkabinett_ by
    Paul Leni (1924), _Die Abenteuer eines Zehnmarkscheines_ by Viennese
    poet and film director, Berthold Viertel (1926), and _Metropolis_ by
    Fritz Lang (1927), to mention but a few.

    While living in Berlin from 1915 until emigrating to Palestine, Lerski
    worked and socialized with artists and local intelligentsia, among them
    Leni Riefenstahl, Fritz Lang, Bertolt Brecht, Alfred Döblin, Berthold
    Viertel, Albert Einstein and Kafka’s confident, Max Brod. In her talk,
    Dr. Anat Gilboa will aim to demonstrate that – although drawing from
    traditional and contemporary concepts of transformation as a metaphor
    for instability and disability – Lerski opted for the opposite,
    welcoming change as a positive source of life, creativity, and equality.

    Dr. Anat Gilboa is an art-historian, and an adjunct lecturer at Ono
    Academic College in Israel. She holds a doctorate degree from the
    Radboud University Nijmegen in the Netherlands, and a master’s degree
    from Tel Aviv University. Dr. Gilboa taught for more than a decade at
    American universities, among them Oregon State University in Portland
    (OG), and UCLA in Los Angeles. She is currently completing a manuscript
    on the perception of the Holocaust in Israeli visual culture. The
    research will be published in a book series at the Center for Jewish
    Studies at the University of Graz. Among her other publications are a
    monograph on the theme of femininity in Rembrandt’s oeuvre (2003), and a
    Catalogue Raisonné on the perception of the Bible in works of Jewish
    artists in the American Midwest (2014). She also published various
    articles and book-chapters in Europe and the US. Dr. Gilboa’s research,
    academic courses, and public talks reflect a focus on cross-disciplinary
    analysis of Jewish and Israeli visual culture, gender issues, history,
    religion, and literature. These are the core themes that define modern
    Israeli identity and its complexity.

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    Prof. Dr. Sarab Abu-Rabia-Queder: "The challenges of diversity in Israeli higher educational institutes"

    7:00 pmWeb Forum

    The challenges of diversity in Israeli higher educational institutes

    The lecture will address the challenges of diversity in Israeli universities from the perspectives of minority groups. It will present the gaps and obstacles that minority students face, such as: economic, social, and political within the academic Israeli context.
    Through two case studies of Palestinian-Arab citizens of Israel and Ethiopian Jews, I will discuss the implications of diversity policies practiced in this sphere.

    About the speaker:
    Prof. Sarab Abu-Rabia-Queder is an Associate Professor at the Department of Education, Ben-Gurion University of the Negev. Recently has been appointed as VP for diversity & inclusion.
    Her contribution to scholarship includes three subjects which form the core of her research: Feminist discourse, minorities in higher education, and minorities in the labor market.
    Prof. Abu-Rabia-Queder is a leading researcher in gender and women's studies in the Bedouin society and one of the first to explore analytical feminist perspectives in the Bedouin society, formulating a unique discourse rich with the otherwise silenced voices of Bedouin women. Her work has succeeded in making significant contributions to the critical analysis of how feminist bodies of knowledge and gender analyses in Israel are produced and how Bedouin perspectives are marginalized within the politics of participation in the production and prioritization of feminist discourses. In her contributions to this body of literature she promotes epistemic justice for the women whom she studies. Prof. Abu-Rabia-Queder merges a deep knowledge of this body of scholarship with her unique perspective to develop new forms of engagement with feminist intersectional scholarship.
    Alongside her academic pursuits Prof. Abu-Rabia-Queder is also a feminist activist, fighting for Bedouin women's rights in the Negev. She serves as a board member in several NGO’s and academic committees. Her main activity focuses on issues central to Bedouin women's agenda such as access to education, combating polygamy, and improving employment opportunities.
    She is the winner of several competitive grants and prizes. In 2019 she won the "Aut katan" prize from "Rouah Nashit" association for the combination between her academic and feminist agenda.