Centre for Continuing Education

Beyond Borders Course: The History of the Arab-Israeli Conflict

Jewish culture. Learn about Jewish culture with us.

COVID-19 update: arrangement of our courses

We are now delivering courses both online and in-person. Please check the delivery format for each class before you enrol.

Please note that course materials for all classes (excluding prescribed textbooks) are shared electronically within 48 hours of a course starting. Printing is not available.

In partnership with the Department of Hebrew, Biblical and Jewish Studies
Course materials developed by The Florence Melton School of Adult Jewish Learning - a project of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. For specific enquiries regarding the program, please contact Hinda Young on 0432 567 917.

This course provides a strong, text-based historical overview from the late nineteenth century through to today. Material is designed to encourage discussion and debate, and to challenge you to appreciate the basis of the conflicting historical claims made by all sides in the conflict.

The complexity of the conflict will force you to grapple with issues of religion, culture, history, politics, economics, identity and survival—all reflected through primary sources, including newspaper articles, poetry, songs, government documents, speeches, photographs and memoirs. This course will provide new tools for understanding and critiquing texts and events as the conflict continues to unfold.


By the end of this course, you should be able to:

  • identify the conflict’s origins, general chronology, key players and events, and challenges to future peace
  • identify a variety of perspectives on the history of the conflict
  • utilise new tools for understanding and critiquing new texts as the conflict continues to unfold.


This course includes the following topics:

  • Introduction to the region – Palestine pre-1880
  • The underpinnings of nationalism
  • The development of Palestine through WWI
  • Between the wars
  • WWII and the aftermath of the holocaust
  • Moving towards Zionist independence
  • Israel’s War of Independence
  • The Suez Canal crisis and the Sinai campaign
  • Rise of Palestinian nationalism
  • The six-day war
  • The war of attrition
  • The Yom Kippur war
  • Peace with Egypt
  • Hoping for peace, preparing for conflict
  • Intifada
  • The price for peace
  • From peace talk to peace talk
  • Shattered dreams
  • Mounting tensions
  • Visions for a lasting peace

Intended audience

Suitable for those willing to approach complex issues with an understanding of the multiplicity of perspectives, and those who are willing to question the claims of all sides.

Delivery style

This 10-week course centres around active discussion between participants and the facilitator.


You will be provided with a course booklet during the first class.


  • Expert trainers
  • Central locations
  • Course materials – yours to keep
  • CCE Statement of Completion

We acknowledge the tradition of custodianship and law of the Country on which the University of Sydney campuses stand. We pay our respects to those who have cared and continue to care for the Country.