About the Center
The State of Israel, founded in 1948, has a rich and multifaceted history. It is characterized by a complex multi-ethnic society and by its unique geographical and geopolitical position. It is embedded in both Jewish as well as Middle Eastern history, culture and religion.
The Center for Israel Studies (Zentrum für Israel-Studien, ZIS) was inaugurated in 2015, the year marking the fiftieth anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between the State of Israel and the Federal Republic of Germany. As the first center of its kind at a German University, the Center for Israel Studies focuses on Israeli history, politics, society, sciences and culture. Integrated into the Chair of Jewish History and Culture at Ludwig Maximilian University (LMU), the ZIS will create a space for interdisciplinary teaching and scholarship, and for fostering international academic exchange.
Interdisciplinary Research and Teaching Institute
Due to its manifold resources and experts, LMU constitutes an ideal location for the Center for Israel Studies. The center connects a wide variety of scholars with expertise on Israel and serves as an umbrella for the diverse activities at the university, including classes, workshops, conferences, field trips and summer courses. Furthermore, it expands the scholarship and study of Israel at the university by developing its own programs and focus. LMU plays an important role as a training institution for prospective high school teachers. Under the rubric of the Mideast conflict and the impact of the Holocaust, Israeli history is an inherent part of the Bavarian school curriculum. The training of Bavarian high school teachers in this field is an essential part of the Center´s mission. The Center for Israel Studies also serves to connect LMU with the international scholarly community, linking it with Israel Studies programs in the United States, Great Britain and Israel. The Center in Munich contributes to the strengthening of a German and European approach to research on Israeli history and society.
Visiting Professor for Israel Studies
The Chair of Jewish History and Culture regularly hosts events related to Israel and invites international scholars to LMU. In September 2012, LMU and the Institute for Jewish History hosted the first Conference of the European Association of Israel Studies with over 200 participants from nearly 20 countries.
The founding of the Center provides an opportunity to institutionalize LMU’s previous activities and to further promote academic research through cooperation with international institutions. It is the aim of the center to establish LMU as an internationally recognized European hub for international scholarship in the field of Israel Studies.The Allianz Visiting Professorship for Jewish and Islamic Studies has already brought widely renowned Israeli scholars to Munich, such as Menachem Ben-Sasson, Richard Cohen, Benny Morris and Shulamit Volkov. The recently established Visiting Professorship for Israel Studies, funded by the Israel Institute, will additionally enhance this field at LMU. The visiting chair has already been occupied by two distinguished historians, Anita Shapira and former Israeli Minister of Foreign Affairs, Shlomo Ben-Ami.