Religious Minorities in Israel

Postgraduate course

Course description

Objectives and Content

A quarter of the population in Israel is not Jewish - by which is meant residents not recognized as Jewish by the Interior Ministry. Of this segment of the population, the great majority belongs to non-Jewish religious minorities, from the largest religious minority, Arab Sunni Muslims (1.2 million), to tiny minorities such as Coptic and Assyrians Christians (each about 1000 persons), and Bahá'ís (650). Others belonging to this part of the population either have no official religious personal status or consider themselves Jewish but are not recognized as such by the government. This course will provide a basic overview of the religious minorities of Israel, namely their background, characteristics, and present situation, and a basic understanding of the state's legal system in regard to its religious minorities. By in addition focusing on a number of cases, first with the entire class and then in an individual research presentation on which basis the individual students´ grade will be assessed, the students will explore the various effects of this system on religious minorities.

Learning Outcomes

The student shall by the end of the course have gained the following learning outcome defined in knowledge, skills, and general competence:


The student

  • has advanced knowledge of the religious, social, and political situation of the major religious minorities in Israel
  • can analyze the way religious matters are organized in the State of Israel and its occupied territories
  • can analyze the various ways this system affects religious minorities and their individual members


The student

  • can engage in critical discussions and peer review activities about religious minorities in Israel
  • can conduct a short independent research project by finding and evaluating relevant source materials and demonstrate writing skills

General competence:

The student

  • can recognize biases and prejudices in sources about and by religious minorities.
  • can communicate in writing the complex social situations of religious minorities while using the concepts and terminology consistent with the master's level of writing and the course literature.

ECTS Credits


Level of Study


Semester of Instruction

Autumn and spring, but not regularly

Place of Instruction

Online course, and therefore not restricted to Bergen.
Required Previous Knowledge
Recommended Previous Knowledge
The course literature is in English. Students should therefore have a sound knowledge of English.
Credit Reduction due to Course Overlap
Access to the Course
Admission to the Master's Programme Religious Minorities or other Master's Programmes at the UiB.
Teaching and learning methods

The teaching and student activities in this course will entirely take place online.


  • short introductory videos.
  • Readings
  • following each video/reading there will be a short quiz, that tests the students basic understanding of the video/reading
  • individual feedback on discussion postings and essays from the instructor participation in online discussions
Compulsory Assignments and Attendance

In this course the following compulsory requirements have to be approved in order to sit for the examination:

  • contributing actively to mapping out the religious minorities of Israel in a for that purpose designed assignment
  • course quizzes following videos and/or texts. The quizzes will test the students' command of the prescribed course material. There will be between 1 and 5 quizzes per week, and successful completion of at least 70% online course questions in course quizzes is required.
  • Four very short essays (minimum 300 words each) and two responses to other students' short essays (each minimum 100 words).

Compulsory requirements are evaluated with "approved/not approved."

Forms of Assessment

The examination consists of an essay (approx. 3000 words).

The exam assignment will be given in English.

The exam can be submitted in Norwegian, Swedish, Danish or English.

Grading Scale
A graded marking scale (A to F) is used. A is the top grade and F means Failed.
Assessment Semester
The course is normally assessed in the teaching semester only.
Reading List

The reading list consists of approximately 500 pages.

The reading list is published by July 1st. for the autumn semester and by December 1st. for the spring semester.

Course Evaluation
The course unit will be evaluated regularly.
Examination Support Material
Programme Committee
The Programme Committee for The Study of Religion
Course Coordinator
The Programme Committee for The Study of Religion
Course Administrator
Department of Archaeology, History, Cultural Studies and Religion