Promoting, encouraging, and supporting
the independent, academic study of Israel
across Europe and beyond

Archived Event: 5th Annual Conference on Israel Studies 2016 'Thinking about Israel: Borders, Boundaries and Cultures' (London)

Sun 4th - Tue 6th September 2016

SOAS Building

Europe’s premier Israel Studies Conference 

5th Annual Conference 4-6 September

'Thinking about Israel: Borders, Boundaries and Cultures' 

Due to larger numbers than expected the main venue has been switched to: 


Registration and opening Keynote Sunday 4th

Brunei Building, SOAS, Thornhaugh Street, Russell Square, LONDON. WC1H 0XG ( nearest Tube is Russell Square)

Panels and other Keynotes Monday 5th and Tuesday 6th

SOAS, University of London, Vernon Square, Penton Rise London WC1X 9EW ( nearest Tube is King's Cross)

The Location and facilities

The School of Oriental & African Studies (part of the University of London) has kindly offered to host this year’s Annual Conference on Israel Studies. SOAS is located in the heart of London - within a short distance of many iconic sites including Bloomsbury, Covent Garden, Trafalgar Square and the River Thames. 

In response to delegate feedback from last year we have ensured that all rooms have excellent acoustics, wi-fi access and Audio Visual equipment as standard. 

SOAS - local maps 

  • You can access an interactive campus map here
  • The Conference takes place in the Vernon Square campus on days 2 & 3
  • The  opening keynote will be at the main campus in Russell Square (day 1 only)
  • For a map of the Vernon Square campus click here
  • For a map of how to walk from Russell Square tube station to the SOAS College Buildings/Brunei click here 
  • Information from the University for visitors travelling to SOAS can be accessed here 


All paid-up EAIS members who have been accepted to present a paper at this year’s event are eligible for free admission to the conference. Other delegates pay a Conference delegate fee when registering. 

MEMBER - Conference Fee

  • Delegate: £30
  • Concession (includes student, retired & non-waged) : £10

NON-MEMBER - Conference Fee

  • Delegate: £70
  • Concession (includes student, retired & non-waged) : £35

A 'student' is someone currently studying for a degree or post-graduate qualification. 

Please note, all presenters at the conference who are not fully paid-up members of the EAIS will be charged a non-member conference fee. 

Please consult the Membership section of our website for more information about becoming a member of the EAIS. 

What is included 

Your conference fee includes a Conference Pack, drinks reception on Sunday evening, attendance at a range of chaired panel sessions on Monday and Tuesday, tea/coffee/refreshments in the breaks and a kosher-friendly buffet lunch on Monday and Tuesday. In addition this year sees the introduction of a free 'film and conversation with the director' on Monday evening which includes a free wine reception and buffet. 

The Programme

The full Conference Programme and documents can be read here


Detailed Programme

Keynote speakers

Organising Committee

In outline it is: 

Sunday 4th September ( Brunei Building)

1200 - Registration opens 

Afternoon - there will be several optional parallel events running for social/cultural visits for a nominal charge. These will be pre-bookable when online registration opens. These trips all return to SOAS by 1730. 

1800 Welcome and Opening Keynote Speaker confirmed as Professor Ruth Gavison. 

1930 Wine reception 

2100 Reception ends

Monday 5th September (Vernon Square)

0930 Session 1 

1100 Refreshments

1130 Session 2 

1300 Buffet lunch 

1400 Session 3 

1530 Refreshments

1600 Session 4 

1730 Sessions end 

1800 Soft drinks followed by film 'Rabin In His Own Words' and discussion with Director. Free for all delegates. 

2030 Wine reception and buffet supper 

2200 Day ends 

Tuesday 6th September (Vernon Square)

0930 Session 5

1100 Refreshments

1130 Session 6

1300 Buffet lunch

1400 Closing plenary speaker (confirmed as Dorit Rabinyan) 

1530 Formal Conference ends 

1530 Refreshments

1600 Book launches

1630 Graduate Student members meeting

1730 Informal ending 

Special Thanks to Dr. Lior Libman and Dr. Yonatan Sagiv

We are eagerly anticipating the start of this year's Conference. It is much bigger and more inclusive than ever before. Numbers have doubled and thanks to the tireless work of Dr. Lior Libman and Dr. Yonatan Sagiv we have for the first time a very full programme of panels on Israeli Literature, film and cultural production. We are deeply grateful for their hard work. 

On Monday evening after the film showing there will be a discussion with film Director Erez Laufer with Chair and discussant Prof. Raya Morag. The closing Plenary will see author Dorit Rabinyan in conversation with Dr. Libman and Dr. Sagiv. 

Opening Keynote Speaker 'Debating Israel's Identity' 

Ruth GavisonRuth Gavison is a Professor Emerita holding the Haim H. Cohn Chair of Human Rights, in the Faculty of Law of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem and a member of the Israel Academy of Science and the Humanities.  She was born in Jerusalem in 1945, and is a graduate of the Hebrew Reali School in Haifa (Science Division).  She spent her IDF service in the Nachal (mostly as a counsellor in the Hebrew Scouts movement). Professor Gavison holds an LLB in Law (cum laude), a B.A. in Philosophy and Economics, and an LLM in Law (summa cum laude) from the Hebrew University and a D.Phil from the University of Oxford, England.

Her areas of research include the Philosophy of Law, Constitutional Law, Human Rights and the Role of Law in Society and the State.  Professor Gavison published a large number of essays  – in Israel and abroad – in such fields as Legal Theory, the Protection of Privacy, Constitutions and constitution-making, Law and Religion, Democracy and Human Rights, and Israel as a Jewish and Democratic State.  Professor Gavison also studies the institutional aspects of the relations between law, society and politics and wrote on the courts' role in rifted democracies and on institutions such as Commissions of Inquiry and the Attorney General. 

Read more about Ruth here....

Erez LauferFilm Screening and conversation with Director Erez Laufer

On Monday evening we will show ‘Rabin: In His Own Words’ which was named best documentary at the 2015 Haifa International Film Festival. It will be followed by a conversation with the Director, Erez Laufer, click to read his filmography.

Told entirely in Rabin’s voice, the film uses a combination of rare archival footage, including newly released 8mm home movies, family letters, uncensored memoirs, off-the-record interviews and other personal records never seen or heard since their original broadcast 40 years ago. Laufer describes the intimate film as an ‘auto-portrait’ like listening in on a conversation between a man and himself. The movie unveils Rabin’s complex personality: at once truthful, innocent and timid, but also brave, resolute and resilient.

‘Through his personal and political trajectory, private thoughts and public iterations, we learn about ourselves and the twists and turns the State of Israel and Israeli society have taken over the years. Two decades and a generation after Rabin’s death, it’s a timely moment to reflect on his legacy’, Laufer said. ‘Myths are made by men. Rabin was very human; the intimacy of this portrait will reveal just how much.’

We have been given special permission for this U.K. showing.

There will be a free wine reception and buffet after the conversation.

Closing Keynote speaker author Dorit Rabinyan

Dorit RabinyanDorit Rabinyan was born in Israel to an Iranian-Jewish family. She lives in Tel Aviv and writes in Hebrew. Her first novel, Persian Brides, and her second, A Strand of a Thousand Pearls were both international best sellers and translated into fifteen languages.

Rabinyan is the recipient Itzhak Vinner Prize, the ACUM Award, The Prime Minister’s Prize and the Jewish Wingate Quarterly Award (London).

Rabinyan published her third novel, Borderlife, in June 2014; it became an immediate best seller in Israel. Haaretz newspaper chose Borderlife as one of the ten best books of the year, and it was awarded the prestigious Bernstein Award for Literature.

In January 2016 Borderlife became the center of a political scandal in Israel when the Ministry of Education banned the book from high school’s curriculum.

Read more about the curriculum decision.

Getting to London

London is well served with international airports including Heathrow, Stansted, Luton and Gatwick which all have regular train connections into central London and its tube (metro) network. 

Airport websites


Travelling around London websites

Planning a journey in London - use the Transport for London planner

To buy a Visitor Oystercard for London travel (the cheapest way to travel) read more here

Where to stay

You may want to consult Trip Advisor London.

The Travelodge hotel in King's Cross Road is next to the Conference venue and offers budget accommodation. 

The President Hotel in Bloomsbury (part of Imperial Hotels Group) is 15 minutes walk and is offering attractive rates of:

Single room £88 

Double room £117

Twin room £117

Currently there is a 'BOGO' offer in place which entitles all those staying 2 nights or longer, complimentary dinner on the first night.This is restricted to individual guests booking only on the Imperial Hotels Group website.

Holiday Inn Bloomsbury is 15 minutes walk. 

There is also London air BnB

Here is a list of hotels and hostels near to SOAS (this does not imply a recommendation) 

Tourist Information

We will have some local tourist information available at the Welcome desk on arrival on Sunday. In the meantime you can check out the Visit London Tourism website.

Co-Host and Partners

The EAIS is grateful to SOAS for kindly offering to co-host this year's annual conference. The generous support of the Pears Foundation and the Israel Institute is greatly appreciated. 

Book Launches

Members wishing to launch their book at Conference should by 1 August e mail:  

Information for presenters

A guide for presenters can be accessed here. 

Information for Chairs

A guide will be emailed directly to Chairs.