Centre for Continuing Education

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

Jewish Culture. Learn about Jewish Culture with us.

Learn about Jewish culture the smart way with Jewish Culture courses at CCE, the University of Sydney.

In partnership with the Department of Hebrew, Biblical & 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 Hilary May Black on 0400 435 099.

This course provides students with 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 students to appreciate the basis of the conflicting historical claims made by all sides in the conflict. The complexity of the conflict forces students 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. It will provide new tools for understanding and critiquing texts and events as the conflict continues to unfold.


Upon successful completion of this course, participants should be able to:

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


This course covers 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

This course is recommended for participants who are willing to approach the complex issue with an understanding of the multiplicity of perspectives, and question the claims of all sides.

Delivery Style

This course is delivered as a series of interactive workshops involving active discussion between participants and the facilitator.


Participants will be provided with a course reader during the first class.


  • Expert trainers
  • Central locations
  • Small class sizes
  • Free, expert advice
  • Student materials – yours to keep
  • Statement of completion