Diversity and Coexistence

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The Diversity and Coexistence program at Hebrew University offers a unique opportunity for undergraduates to explore the intersections between identity, religion, community, nationalism and diversity in the city of coexistence — Jerusalem. Students engage in an interdisciplinary study of Israel’s approach to pluralism and social cohesion. Beyond the classroom the Alliance introduces students to people engaged in co-existence initiatives from a variety of religious, ethnic and sexual identities, as well as different political and socio-economic backgrounds. In and out of the classroom, students are provided a host of fresh perspectives and insights relevant to the identity theory and politics of social movements in the United States and around the world today.

Program Terms Fall Semester, Spring Semester
Credit Hours 17
Subjects Offered Sociology, Psychology, Peace Studies, Political Science, Government, Economics, Hebrew and Arabic
Language Pre-Requisites None
Field Components Co-curricular Activities, Internships
Housing Dormitory with international and Israeli students
Excursions/Events Four excursion days and six co-curricular events
Application Deadlines April 15 (Fall), October 15 (Spring)

All students are encouraged to consider studying abroad for an academic year, whether continuing in their current study abroad program to deepen their understanding of Jerusalem, or at a different Alliance program center to experience another place and culture.

The Diversity and Coexistence program invites you to examine the complexities of pluralism and how Israeli citizens from vastly different cultural and national backgrounds forge their identity as individuals and communities. The semester is comprised of a pre-semester language course, one required course, and electives for a total of 17 credits. The core course and electives are taught in English.

Required Courses

Pre-semester Language (5 credits)

Intensive Hebrew language study on four levels, Aleph to Dalet (Beginners to Lower-Advanced) and Heh and Vav (Advanced and Upper-Advanced). Arabic instruction is available on three levels for both Modern Standard Arabic (formal literary Arabic) and Amia (colloquial Palestinian Arabic). Arabic beginning in fall 2017.

48427: Diversity and Coexistence (3 credits, spring and fall)

Resolving social tensions to attain harmony in a democratic society comprised of disparate social, religious, historical and cultural backgrounds is a global challenge today. This course examines the concepts of social identity, diversity, multiculturalism and coexistence. Modern tailor-made solutions of several nations which have dealt with racial tensions, social reconciliation after periods of violence, and the current influx refugees will be examined. Israel’s struggles to reach social cohesion, while positively celebrating its diversity, will be explored through field trips as well as guest lecturers, allowing students to meet with grassroots activists in relevant fields.

Elective Courses

Visit the Rothberg International School Course Catalog to view descriptions of any course below. Students select three electives or one elective and an Arabic or Hebrew language course for a total of 9 credits. Not all electives may be offered in a given semester, depending on enrollment and faculty availability.


Hostility and Recognition: Social-Psychological Dynamics of Intergroup Conflict (3 credits, fall semester only)

This course aims to enable a reflective investigation and understanding of identities, narratives, and social and psychological needs of groups and individuals in ethnically and culturally diverse societies and in settings of intergroup conflict. It will examine the role played by narratives, identity-based motivations and other psychological factors in escalating intergroup conflicts and in strengthening exclusive and polar identities that deny the legitimacy of the other, as well as the constructive role that these factors may play in promoting processes of intergroup dialogue and peacebuilding.

48156: Feminist Judaism, Theory and Practice: Contemporary Issues and Ideas(3 credits, fall semester only)

In this course, students will read some of the most important works of Jewish feminist critique of traditional Judaism and proposals for a Judaism which is in female as well as male image. Students will look at contemporary issues that engage feminist Jews, women and men, such as rituals and language of prayer, and see how theory gets applied in practice.

48203: Issues in Israeli Society (3 credits, fall and spring)

This course examines historical, social and political aspects of contemporary Israeli society. After analyzing the ideologies and groups that played a major role in the formation of Israeli society, class discussion will focus on social and political issues which are at the center of current debate in the country.

48326: Media and Nationalism from an Israeli Perspective (3 credits, spring semester only)

The relationship between nations and the mass media has a deep and long history. This course provides an opportunity to thoroughly explore the ways in which media and nation overlap, intersect and inform one another, using Israel as a case study. Students explore the instrumental role of films, television programs, news and other media in the construction of national narratives. Class presentations of ongoing independent research provide a platform for enriching our understanding of the complexity and variety of ways in which media and nation are related.

48278: The Palestinians: Modern History and Society (3 credits, fall and spring)

This course is a survey of the history, politics and society of the Palestinians in the 20th century. It focuses on the rise and development of Palestinian nationalism and the changing nature of the Palestinian population and leadership since WWI. The course will also examine the social structure, the family, gender relations and the transformation of Palestinian society. It concludes with an assessment of the causes, results and effects of the wars in the region, the negotiations, and agreements between Israel and the PLO/PNA since 1991, as well as the prospects of peace and security in the Middle East.

48369: Challenges of Regional Cooperation (3 credits, spring semester only)

We often hear discussions and speculations regarding the chances of regional cooperation in the Middle East. Many of these discussions are inspired by the successful history of regional cooperation in Europe in the aftermath of WWII. The goal of this course is to explore the basic conceptual tools and competing theoretical arguments within the academic field of International Relations, which try to explain the nature, scope and degree of success of various regional cooperation schemes, and then apply them to the world around us.

48402: Politics and Violence: Selected Topics (3 credits, spring semester only)

This course offers theoretical tools for analyzing the relationship between politics and violence, drawing primarily from classical sociological perspectives. Empirically, we will cover a range of historical and contemporary cases in Europe, North America, Africa, the Middle East and South Asia. Central themes include the relationship between violence and social structure, state action and resistance, biological and embodied understandings of violence, cultural representations and ethical constraints on its use.

48192: Negotiating Middle East Peace (3 credits, spring semester only)

This course focuses upon the topic of negotiations and conflict resolution in the context of the Arab-Israeli conflict since 1977 to present. It is divided into four parts. First, a general theoretical framework for explaining and understanding negotiations in international relations with reference to issues and patterns of negotiations in the history of the Arab-Israeli conflict. Several case studies of successes and failures of negotiations between Israel and its several Arab neighbors. In the last part of the course, students play a simulation and present their papers.

Hebrew Language (6 credits, fall and spring)

Hebrew instruction is available on six levels, from complete beginner (Aleph) to upper advanced (Vav).

Level Aleph - Beginners
Level Bet - Lower Intermediate
Level Gimel - Upper Intermediate
Level Dalet - Lower Advanced
Level Heh - Advanced
Level Vav - Upper Advanced

Arabic Language (6 credits, fall and spring)

Arabic instruction is available on three levels for both Modern Standard Arabic (formal literary Arabic) and Amia (colloquial Palestinian Arabic).

48728: Arabic Immersion Program- Beginners Fusha
48735: Arabic Immersion Program- Intermediate Fusha
48737: Arabic Immersion Program- Advanced Fusha
48733: Arabic Immersion Program- Beginners Amia
48736: Arabic Immersion Program- Intermediate Amia
48738: Arabic Immersion Program - Advanced Amia (spring semester only)

Other elective options

48635: Religion and Conflict in the Middle East: A Jewish Perspective (3 credits, spring semester only)

48624: Israeli Narratives of War and Peace (3 credits)

48233: Colloquial Arabic Beginners (3 credits, fall and spring)

48771: Independent Study

The purpose of Independent Study is to afford the motivated student an opportunity to pursue an area of study in his/her major which is not available in the normal framework of the Undergraduate Study Abroad Program. Applicants for such study are expected to develop a sound rationale for their individual research project. Independent Study requires faculty guidance and must reflect an intensive research project.

IS379-01 Exploring Community & Culture in a Global Context (3 credits)

In addition to required and elective courses, Alliance students may participate in an exciting online course with a global cohort from IFSA-Butler locations around the world. Enrolling in this course brings your course load to, or above, 18 U.S. semester credit hours and requires approval from your study abroad advisor.

Through a creative online format, this course facilitates active engagement with your host community, exploration of cultural identity and examination of diversity in the context of political, economic and sociocultural structures. Students cover topics such as intercultural communication skills, intercultural learning theories, tools for intercultural analysis and the development of personal strategies for engaging with differences of any kind following the study abroad experience. This course is ideal for students who seek transferable skills and specific competencies for successful work in the global marketplace. The asynchronous course format allows you to take part in online discussions, post responses, review peer contributions, submit your assignments, read materials and watch instructor videos at the time of day (or night) that best suits your personal schedule.

Download the course outline or course syllabus to learn more.

Prof. Ofer Shinar Levanon
Diversity and Coexistence

Dr. Yiftach Ron
Hostility and Recognition Social-Psychological Dynamics of Intergroup Conflict

A study abroad experience is first and foremost an academic experience. All Alliance for Global Education courses have undergone a faculty review and approval process, and are transcripted by Butler University in Indianapolis, Indiana. While in most cases students who have received approval from their home institution to study on an Alliance program can be assured of credits transferring, it is each student’s responsibility to work with the home school study abroad advisor and faculty or academic departments to ensure credit transfer for specific courses.  

Credits and Accreditation

Credits granted for Alliance courses are identified in course listings on the Curriculum page for each program, and appear on the official transcript issued at the completion of a student's term. Credit is issued in U.S. semester hours, ensuring that students continue to make progress toward their degrees and verifying the full-time course load they completed while abroad.

All Alliance courses have been reviewed and approved by Butler University’s Undergraduate Academic Programs Committee. Butler University is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission and is a member of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools. Programs approved by the Butler University College of Business—which include the Alliance’s International Business in China Program—are accredited by AACSB International, the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business.


Students receive a letter grade on a scale from A to F for every course taken while enrolled on an Alliance program. Withdrawals may be granted due to exceptional circumstances. Although policies at students' home institutions may differ, the Alliance does not permit students to take courses on a credit/no credit or pass/fail basis. Student grades are determined by criteria set forth in course syllabi. The grading scale used in determining letter grades is as follows:

Excellent      A 93-100% Acceptable C+ 77-79%
A- 90-92% C 73-76%
C- 70-72%
Good    B+ 87-89% Unsatisfactory D+ 67-69%
B 83-86% D 63-66%
B- 80-82% D- 60-62%
Failing F < 60%


At the conclusion of a program, an official transcript is sent to the participant's home campus and to the student's permanent address. Please use this form if the Alliance has accepted you into a program and you have changed your home, school or billing address. Federal regulations require official documentation and a signature for address changes.

Because timelines for final evaluation may vary due to respective program calendars or administrative structures of partner universities abroad, transcripts may take longer to issue than they do at U.S. institutions. While the timeline varies by program, a general timeline for issuing transcripts is:

  • Fall programs - transcript issued in late February
  • Spring and Summer programs - transcript issued in late September

Transcripts are not released for students with an outstanding balance of program fees or other charge incurred while on the program. Students enrolling in consecutive terms with the Alliance do not receive their first term transcript until their second term fees are paid in full.

Students in Alliance programs from Summer 2014 and beyond can request additional transcripts of their transcripts online at any time from Butler University's online transcript ordering service provided by the National Student Clearinghouse, a nonprofit organization serving the higher education community. 

For all Alliance programs through Spring 2014, transcripts were issued by Arcadia University. Students enrolled during that time can request additional copies of transcripts online or in writing from the Arcadia University Registrar's Office.

If you have a question about the transcripting process or timeline, please contact your Academic Records Coordinator.

Academic Record Appeal

The Institute for Study Abroad, Butler University (IFSA-Butler) can assist you with your academic record appeal for any IFSA-Butler or Alliance program by contacting the host institution you attended and/or program instructor as well as our staff abroad for further information.

Academic record appeals can be varied in nature, including grade appeals, credit appeals, courses missing from the transcript, course title, etc.

Students may appeal the content of their academic records according to the official procedures set by the host university and/or program. All appeals must be submitted to IFSA-Butler promptly after receipt of the Butler University transcript via our online Academic Record Appeal Form. IFSA-Butler allows students one year from the program end date to submit appeals, however it is the student’s responsibility to be aware of and meet the deadlines set by the host university and/or program attended. The earliest deadline takes precedence.

No appeals will be undertaken for those students who have taken early examinations, have arranged to submit any course work outside the scheduled dates, have a financial hold on their account or have been accused of academic dishonesty for the course in question.

The appeals process may be lengthy due to differences between universities abroad and the U.S. academic systems and calendars. Therefore, you should expect that an appeal may take three weeks to three months to resolve.

What constitutes a valid academic record appeal?
You must have reason to believe that an error has been made in calculating your grades or credits (i.e. submitted work was not received; an error may have been made in marking your final exam, etc.) or that you were exempt from a portion of the coursework due to a documented medical or personal emergency.

The following arguments, on their own, are insufficient reason for an appeal:

  • “My home university requires a higher grade for transfer of credit.”
  • “I feel I deserve a better grade.”
  • “I was over my head in this class.”
  • “I worked hard and spent a lot of time, effort and money on this class.”

Complete the IFSA-Butler Academic Record Appeal form, clearly describing the nature of your academic record appeal. Upload any supporting documentation. You must be polite, specific, and when appropriate, substantiate your well-written logical appeal by providing relevant documentation. Upon receiving a response from your host institution and/or program instructor, your academic records coordinator will notify you of the results as soon as they are available.

All decisions made by the host university and/or program instructor are final. An academic record appeal may result in a higher or lower grade. IFSA-Butler reserves the right to withhold the submission of those appeals that do not meet the above criteria and to issue a final decision.

Click here for the academic record appeal form.

Alliance students who prefer an alternative to the Diversity and Coexistence program may enroll in other undergraduate programs at Rothberg International School, Hebrew University of Jerusalem (RIS). Alliance students can choose any program for which they are qualified and in which space is available.

The number of courses and credits earned depends on the program. Students are required to enroll in a full course load as defined by IFSA-Butler at the Hebrew University, Rothberg International School (RIS). At RIS, a full course load for general study students consists of 15-18 U.S. semester credit hours per semester or 30-36 U.S. semester credit hours per year. All students, except those students taking the Arabic Immersion program, are required to participate in the Ulpan course worth 5 credit hours, which is an intensive Hebrew language course that begins before the semester starts and continues for the duration of the semester. You can elect to participate in a specific program of study or do general study.

programs of Study

Please note: Art Jerusalem, Dance Jerusalem and Jerusalem Sounds fall semester participants will be required to stay until the end of January in order to complete the semester. Students studying for the year must stay until the end of June. Any courses taught at Hebrew University outside Rothberg International School (RIS) or in conjunction with other Jerusalem institutions may require students to stay longer than the published program end date and therefore may be subject to a supplemental housing fee. Please contact your program advisor to determine whether this pertains to you. 

Arabic Immersion

This program is based on the total immersion in constant and exclusive use of Arabic in its native social and cultural environment. The focus will be on Modern Standard Arabic, which is the formal language used in books, newspapers, news broadcasts and formal speeches throughout the Arab world. Students also will learn the foundations of the dialect spoken in the Palestinian areas of the Middle East.

Art Jerusalem

Students combine artistic training along with university study through either the Art Specialization or Art Academic program.

Dance Jerusalem

Students interested in dance have the unique opportunity to study on a joint program between the Jerusalem Academy of Music and Dance and RIS. Dance Jerusalem allows students to train in the areas of classical ballet, contemporary dance (including Ohad Naharin's Gaga), choreography, Rrepertoire and improvisation. Students create, rehearse and perform works with outstanding Israeli composers and choreographers.

Spring in Jerusalem Honors Program

The Spring in Jerusalem Honors Program is for students in their third or fourth year with a GPA of at least 3.5. This program allows students to study together with Israelis in advanced level courses taught in English.

Jerusalem Sounds

Jerusalem Sounds is a exciting program that allows a student to participate in a comprehensive music program in addition to taking classes offered at RIS. Jerusalem Sounds is a joint program with the Jerusalem Academy of Music and Dance and RIS.

General Study

General Study students continue with a language course during the semester, which is worth 6 U.S. semester credit hours. Since the majority of courses taught within RIS are worth 3 U.S. semester credit hours, general study students normally take three additional courses each semester in order to be enrolled in a full course load.

Course descriptions in the RIS online course catalog include prerequisites in order to enroll in each course.

Academic Calendar

  • Spring semester begins in late January and concludes at the end of June
  • Fall semester begins at the end of August and concludes in late December/early January

The program generally runs from late August to late December in the fall semester and late January to late June in the spring semester. The Alliance orientation is mandatory. You should make your travel plans accordingly.

Given the program’s busy academic schedule, weekly local activities and excursions, and field study trips, the Alliance strongly discourages students from hosting visitors until the end of the semester. Please encourage family and/or friends to visit after the program has ended.

Semester Structure

The 22-week semester begins with a multi-day orientation in Tel Aviv and Jerusalem. Four excursion days are built into the calendar for Alliance-organized excursions outside of Jerusalem. In addition, there are several field visits to various points of interest in and around Jerusalem. Passover vacation takes place in April and lasts for two weeks.

Fall 2017

  • Arrive in Tel Aviv: August 24
  • Orientation in Tel Aviv: August 25-27
  • Orientation in Jerusalem: August 27-28
  • Move into housing: August 29
  • Arabic Ulpan begins: August 29
  • Hebrew Ulpan begins: August 31
  • Classes begin: October 15
  • Classes end: January 1
  • Assessment period: January 3-4
  • Program ends: January 5

spring 2018

  • Arrive in Tel Aviv: January 19
  • Orientation: January 20-24
  • Classes begin: January 24
  • Classes end: May 31
  • Assessment period: June 4-7
  • Program ends: June 8

Students live in the Scopus Student Village, located on Mount Scopus and a short walking distance from campus. There you will have the chance to make new friends from all over the world as well as share experiences with Israeli students who also are living in the Student Village. Life in the Student Village includes the following features:

  • Suite-style living with single bedrooms
  • Living room, kitchen and bathroom facilities shared with two to four other students
  • All suites are air conditioned
  • Comprehensive security 24 hours a day
  • A supermarket and shopping are located nearby
  • Laundry facilities
  • Select Israeli students serve as madrichim (similar to resident assistants in the U.S.) to ensure the well-being of residents and to help them adjust to life in Jerusalem
  • Housing is within walking distance of classes at Rothberg
  • Students who observe the Jewish Sabbath or who keep Kosher may request housing with other observant residents

Meals are not included in the Alliance program fee, although some group meals are provided during orientation and other events. All accommodations are self-catering. No meal plans are available, though numerous student-friendly cafeterias and restaurants are available on and near campus.

Outside of the classroom students participate in co-curricular activities designed to engage you with diverse communities and interrogate theories of identity and coexistence.

  • Tour the Old City of Jerusalem and religious sites of three major world religions
  • Take in the sights, sounds, and smells of the Shuk (Jerusalem’s food market) as you prepare for your Israeli cooking course or an upcoming Shabbat
  • Explore Tel Aviv’s street arts scene through a graffiti tour and workshop
  • Sail on the Mediterranean Sea on a mini-sailing course
  • Attend lectures on the Palestinian-Israeli conflict
  • Visit Yad Vashem, The World Holocaust Remembrance Center
  • Meet with the New Palestinian Leadership
  • Experience daily life on a communal agricultural settlement such as a kibbutz or moshav
  • Sit down with international lawyers and development workers based at key regional offices for Europe, Asia, and the Middle East

Student Testimonial

“I thought being surrounded by so many people who were working towards achieving peace and understanding in such a complicated country was really inspiring.  It was great to see that efforts were being made by people from all backgrounds, upbringings, and religions.  Interacting with people who grew up both in and outside of Israel, who are equally as interested in exploring the possibility of community understanding was something that I haven't seen back home in the states.  Even just being in the presence of so many people who are so different from each other was something that I haven't experienced before.  They acknowledge that they believe different things, but that they can also use these belief systems to bring them closer together, and to help understand each other as humans rather than stereotypes.  Israel itself, and Jerusalem in particular, is such a mixture of people and cultures that it is nearly impossible to live here without regularly interacting with people who are different than you.  This group really strives to make those interactions as positive as possible, instead of isolating and causing riffs between peoples.”

Jessica Blitz
Haverford College
B.A. Candidate '18

Our excursions include two trips that offer Alliance students exposure to the geographic, social, religious and cultural diversity of Israel. This is a great opportunity to explore Israeli communities, as well as some of the most important and sacred places in Christianity, Judaism and Islam in a way that you could not do on your own!

 The North Tour:

Meet our friends from the Ahmadiyya community, the Druze community and the Circassian community. Visit the Galilee Sea, a Kibbutz, the Baha’is World Centre, the Jesus Baptismal site and the Capernaum. Overnight in the city of Haifa with a great Friday evening (shabbat) dinner, one of the highlights of the semester.

"Going to the north and meeting so many different people was amazing.  Often, being in Jerusalem, it is easy to forget how diverse the country of Israel is and how many different religions, ethnicities, and cultures are found here.  All of the groups we spoke to add something unique to Israel, whether it be language, food, or a different perspective on life.  With all of the communities living happily in their cities and neighborhoods, you get a completely different story of diversity in Israel than the one that the news reports.  Everyone was so welcoming and open to answering our questions.  They just wanted to share their culture and way of life with us!  Most of them are not Jewish, but manage quite easily to hold on to their own culture and religion.  It is a side of Israel that many people never get the chance to see or experience, and I feel lucky beyond words to have had these exchanges with such remarkable people."

Jessica Blitz, Alliance student, fall 2016

The South Tour:

Includes visits to the Bedouin community, The Falah community, ancient caves and the desert area of Israel. This oasis will surprise you!

For both excursions include a private tour guide and private transportation. Great meals and good weather are on us!

Program Fees

Total Tuition Housing
Spring 2018 $18,975 $15,675 $3,300
Fall 2017 $18,990 $15,690 $3,300

What's included

The program price includes orientation costs, tuition and fees, housing, pre-departure materials, student visa authorizations, orientation, cell phone, organized activities, excursions, course materials, the services of a full-time resident staff, and medical/evacuation insurance.

What's not included

The program price does not include airfare to Tel Aviv, meals, passport and visa fees, local transportation, phone and internet usage, independent travel, and other items not mentioned as included.

Any courses taught at Hebrew University outside Rothberg International School (RIS) or in conjunction with other Jerusalem institutions may require students to stay longer than the published program end date and therefore may be subject to a supplemental housing fee. Please contact your program advisor to determine whether this pertains to you.

out of pocket expenses

When making your budget, think about your spending habits – are you a “Just the Essentials” Traveler, happy to cook your meals at home and explore the city on foot or by tram? Or are you more of the “Everything Extra” Traveler, who wants to experience everything – nights out, coffees at Starbucks, and traveling every weekend?

Estimated Out of Pocket Expenses for One Semester

Roundtrip airfare to Israel $ 1,500-1,800
E-Visa $ 75
Meals $ 2,000
Local transportation (varies by distance) $ 400
Phone usage (varies with data plan) $ 50
Incidentals and personal care items $ 100
Entertainment $ 350
Independent travel $ 500
Estimated Total $4,575-7,575

Funding and Scholarships

Remember to check in with your home university and visit our Finances pages to learn more about financial aid and study abroad scholarships.

Continuer's DISCOUNT

The Alliance encourages students to consider studying abroad with more than one Alliance program. The Alliances offers a $500 scholarship to repeat students who choose to study on our programs a second (or third!) time to help you get there faster!

The first program can be any Alliance opportunity, and your participation can be in non-consecutive terms. The scholarship does not apply to semester students who choose to extend to a year-long program, as a discount is already included in our full-year program fees.

Our program location is at the Rothberg International School, Hebrew University of Jerusalem (RIS), one of the Middle East's most prestigious universities, located on Mount Scopus in the ancient city of Jerusalem.

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