Take this class! It is fantastic class and an easy A! Both for those very knowledgable about Israeli Society and the Israeli - Palestinian Conflict and for those who know nothing. Professor Cohen is extremely knowledgable, very smart, and very likable. Despite being very liberal in his own political beliefs and views regarding the conflict, Professor Cohen does a great job presenting balanced sources and discussion. When relevant, he will let you know if his opinion contradicts a particular source and does not try to mislead, persuade, or propagandize anyone or any position. He is just interested in every student formulating their own knowledge based opinions. The class formate is generally lecture and discussion. Professor Cohen enjoys student interaction, questions, and debate. Each week is broken down into topics and relevant readings are assigned for each. However, you only need to skim one of each reading in order to follow class, and often can get away without doing so. The readings are all very interesting though, and never too long, so its worth doing them!
I actually LOVE Professor Cohen. I will admit what the other 2 reviews said about knowing background information on Israel is true and important, but you certainly don't need to be an expert on the region. Professor Cohen caters towards those with a real interest in internal Israeli politics and issues and he is certainly opinionated and has an Israeli attitude. However, he can be quite hilarious. The readings were very interesting, very readable. His class is pretty chill, as are the assignments. It is easy to do well. I learned a lot from him and found class discussions to be very valuable. He doesn't want you to memorize statistics and figures, but rather he wants you to get a larger picture and be knowledgable enough to have discussions about particular issues. Don't take this class if you have no interest in Israel. With minimal effort, this class is an easy A.
Oh god, this class and this professor were awful. I couldn't agree more with the reviewer below me. This class was first of all so incredibly boring; he took the least interesting aspects of studying Israel and turned it into a course. The readings were average length but just so incredibly boring. I only read them when I had to write a paper for them. Professor Cohen is just not a nice person at all. Every time I emailed him with a question or approached him after class, he was always so unnecessarily snide. He's really just an unkind person and shuts down any opinions that contradict his, which is probably because a large part of the readings we had were his own or his colleagues'. The way he speaks to his students both in private and in class is nasty and he seems to have no passion for teaching at all. He puts up the same powerpoint every class and goes off on tangents about uninteresting and irrelevant things. Like the previous commenter mentioned, he expects you to know a great deal about the subject of the class before you take it, so if you have no background in the topic of the class, I would either be prepared to read a few books on the topic or choose another class. I would strongly recommend the latter. Maybe it was because this isn't my area of study, and I only took this class pass/fail for pleasure because I thought it would be interesting especially in light of the Israeli/Palestinian conflict, but I thought this class and the readings were mind numbingly boring.
Professor Cohen is a horrible professor. He expects you to know everything about the course before you take it, is difficult to approach, biased on the Israeli/Palestinian conflict and is open about this, unkind, and does not know what it means to teach. He would go off on tangents all the time and shut down anyone who had an opinion other than his own.