About this Curriculum

These modules were developed by The iCenter from material in A Look at Israeli Democracy, Section 2: Israel as a Jewish and Democratic State, created by The Israel Democracy Institute (IDI). The modules are designed to be usable and adaptable by educators in a wide range of high school- and college-aged settings, both formal and informal, including day schools, supplementary schools, camps, and youth groups.

These modules are part of an ongoing iCenter project to develop content resources for educators across educational settings based on the Aleph Bet of Israel Education. The complete resource book is available from IDI. The iCenter encourages educators to develop their own resources using the book, and to share those resources through The iCenter’s website at www.theicenter.org.

Enduring Understanding

Through their learning of these modules, participants will understand that Israel’s identity as a Jewish and democratic state gives rise to diverse and complex elements in the social, civil, political, and religious spheres. By comparing these elements to the United States, participants will learn how each country addresses certain cases and what are the values that stand behind their course of action.

Essential Questions of the Modules

  • What is the historical context that led to the commitment of Israel’s founders to its Jewish and democratic character?
  • What are the hallmarks of a democratic state and how do they manifest in Israel?
  • What characterizes Israel as a Jewish state?
  • How does Israel’s character as a democratic state inform its nature as a Jewish state and vice versa?
  • How are key laws and documents influenced by Israel’s dual character as a democratic and Jewish state?
  • How does Israel balance what might sometimes be competing interests arising from its commitment to being both democratic and Jewish?

Evidence of Understanding

Participants will demonstrate their ability to:

  • Identify where Jewish values influence democratic values, and where Israel’s commitment to be both Jewish and democratic gives rise to tension.
  • Take multiple perspectives on a given issue in which the Jewish and democratic factors embedded in the issue are articulated.
  • Compare how the same issue might manifest or be addressed in an American context.