The Association for Israel Studies awards the Ben Halpern Prize for the best doctoral dissertation in Israel Studies (broadly defined) approved during the 2020 calendar year. This award honors the memory of Ben Halpern, a founding member of the Board of Directors of the Association for Israel Studies. His book, The Idea of the Jewish State, is still seminal in the study of Zionism. An inspiring teacher at Brandeis University, Ben Halpern left a powerful and distinctive intellectual legacy including a commitment to the study of Israeli society in accordance with rigorous scholarly and scientific norms.

To submit a dissertation for consideration, a candidate should send each member of the Halpern Award Committee a copy of the dissertation and two recommendation letters by scholars familiar with the candidate's work. Recommendations should explain how the dissertation has advanced knowledge in the field of Israel Studies (including the Yishuv period). 

Candidates for the award must be members of the Association for Israel Studies prior to submitting their dissertation for consideration. Please include contact information (including email) for confirmation and decision. Dissertations in English or Hebrew will be accepted. Letters of recommendation can be in either language as well. It is up to the candidates to ensure that all letters of recommendation will be received on time. 

Deadline for submissions: January 15, 2021


The 2021 Award Committee:


Na’ama Sheffi (Chair)

Sapir Academic College

Aziza Khazzoom

Indiana University Bloomington

Rami Zeedan

University of Kansas


Tally Kritzman-Amir

College of Law and Business

Past Winners of the Halpern Award:

Masua Sagiv (Tel Aviv University), for "A Time to Rend, and a Time to Sew: Halachic Feminism in Israel Between Law and Society".

The dissertation awarded an "Honorable Mention" is by Irit Carmon Popper (Technion-Israel Institute of Technology), “Art as Preservation: Intervention in sites-in-conflict, Israel 1948-2008”.

Elizabeth Imber (Johns Hopkins University), for "Jewish Political Lives in the British Empire: Zionism, Nationalism, and Imperialism in Palestine, India, and South Africa, 1917-1939".

Talia Diskin (Tel-Aviv University), “A Law of Our Own: Legal and Moral Values in Children and Youth Periodicals in the State of Israel, 1948-1958”.

2017 (co-winners)
- Irit Katz (University of Cambridge), for “The Common Camp: Temporary Settlements as a Spatio-political Instrument in Israel-Palestine”.
-Judah Troen (The Hebrew University of Jerusalem), "This is what is done abroad: Model Others and the Construction of National Identity in the Parliamentary Discourse of Israel".

Aviad Moreno (Ben-Gurion University), for: “Ethnicity in Motion: Social Networks in the Emigration of Jews from Northern Morocco to Venezuela and Israel, 1860-2010”. 

Tamar Novick (University of Pennsylvania), for "Milk & Honey: Technologies of Plenty in the Making of a Holy Land, 1890-1965".

Nitzan Rothem (the Hebrew University of Jerusalem), for "The Domestication of Suicide Through Solidarity and Responsibility: Suicide of Soldiers in the Israel Defense Forces as Portrayed in Psychology, Law, and Modern Hebrew Literature."

Tamar Kaminsky (Bar Ilan University), for "Women of Ein Harod as a Determining Factor of a New and Ever-Changing Society: 1921-1948"

Rafi Nets-Zehngut, for “Fixation and Change of the Israeli Official Memory (1949-2004) Regarding the Causes for the Palestinian Exodus during the 1948 War”

Hanna Shemesh, for “The Shaping of Memory in History Textbooks in the Arab Sector in Israel (1948-2000)”

Michal Shaul, for “Holocaust Survivors And Holocaust Memory In The Rehabilitation Of Ashkenazi Haredi Society In The Yishuv And The State Of Israel, 1945-1961”

Tali Kristal, for “Labor’s Share of National Income and the Diversification in Sources of Income among Wage and Salary Workers”
Ceren Belge, for “Whose Law?: Clans, Honor Killings, and State-Minority Relations in Turkey and Israel”

Ilana Szobel, ’Not with My Feet on the Ground:’ Poetics of Estrangement, Subversion, and Witnessing in the Oeuvre of Dalia Ravikovitch. Submitted to the New York University.

Sharon Asiskovitch, L'daber b'kama kolot, litsod b'kama shvilim: politika birokratit v'tmurot b'mediniut haravaha hayisraelit, 1985-2002 [Speaking with Different Voices, Walking Along Several Paths: Bureaucratic Politics and Changes in the Israeli Welfare State, 1985-2002]. Submitted to the Hebrew University of Jerusalem.

2004-2005 (biannual award)
Shira Robinson, Occupied Citizens in a Liberal State: Palestinians under Military Rule and the Colonial Formation of Israeli Society, 1948-1966. Submitted to Stanford University.

2002-2003 (biannual award) co-winners
-Sharon Kangisser Cohen, Finding Their Voices: The Life Stories of Child Survivors of the Holocaust in Israel. Submitted to Hebrew University of Jerusalem.
-Oren Meyers, Israeli Journalists as an Interpretive Memory Community. Submitted to University of Pennsylvania.

2000-2001 (biannual award)
Sharon Lang, Shaking Hands with the Enemy: The Quest for Honor among Israeli-Palestinian Men. Submitted to Harvard University.

1998-1999 (biannual award)
Eli Avraham

1996-1997 (biannual award)
Adriana Kemp

1994-1995 (biannual award)
Sara Helman, Hasiruv l'sharet b'tsava k'nisayon l'hagdara mehudeshet shel ezrahut (Conscientious Objection to Military Service as an Attempt to Change the Contents of Citizenship). Submitted to Hebrew University of Jerusalem.

Annual Meeting