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Prof. Ella Belfer



    B.A, History, Hebrew University, 1966.

    M.A, History, Columbia University, 1967.

    Ph.D, Tel Aviv University, 1973.

    Doctoral thesis: The Marxist Ideology of G.V. Plekhanov.

    Current Status:

    Full professor, since 2006.

    Academic Supervision:

    No. of students supervised (M.A): 10

    No. of students supervised (Ph.D):     9


    Scientific Conferences Organized

    October 1999

    Civil Society and Judaism, Chair for Society and Judaism, Bar Ilan.


    February 2000

    Panel on Judicial Aspects of Religion and Society, Bar Ilan.


    May 2002

    International Conference, The Political Tradition in Judaism, Bar Ilan.


    May 2003

    Social Justice, Civil Society and the Jewish Ethos, Bar Ilan.


    May 2004

    Zionism and Religious Zionism, Bar Ilan.


    January 2005

    The Disengagement Program – Democracy vs Halacha, Bar Ilan.


    May 2008

    International Conference on Tolerance & Intolerance in Western Societies throughout History


    Academic Activities & Awards
    Fellow, Institute of Advanced Studies, Hebrew University (awarded research grant).
    Sabbatical, Temple University, Philadelphia U.S.A.
    President, Israeli Association of Slavic Studies, Jerusalem.
    Student Ombudsman, Bar Ilan University.
    Head of Dept. of Political Studies, Bar Ilan University.
    Philip & Muriel Berman Visiting Scholar, Berman Center for Jewish Studies, Lehigh University, Bethlehem PA, U.S.A.
    Head of the Department of Political Studies, Bar Ilan University
    1995 –99
    Dean of Students, Bar Ilan University
    Member of Editorial Committee, “Tekumah” — a 20-program TV series on the history of Israel from 1948 until the present day (a follow-on from the celebrated “Pillar of Fire” series)
    1996 —
    Member, Forum on Judaism and Democracy, the Israeli Institute for Democracy
    1996 —
    Head of Chair for Society and Judaism,  Bar Ilan University
    1999 ––
    Board member, Jewish Memorial Foundation
    2000– 2005
    Member, Israel-America Forum
    Chairman, Publications Committee, Bar Ilan University
    Award for excellence in lecturing, Bar-Ilan University
    Head of Department, General History Dept., Bar Ilan University
    2006 ---
    Member, Publications Committee, Bar Ilan University

    Lectures Presented at Conferences


    Summer 1976

    The International Congress of Jewish Studies, Jerusalem. Subject: “Jewish Theocracy”.


    Summer 1977

    Congress of the Institute of Judaism & Contemporary Thought, Bar Ilan University. Subject: “The Feminine Aspect of Jewish Mysticism”.


    Summer 1978

    Congress of the Institute of Judaism & Contemporary Thought, Bar Ilan University. Subject: “The Intellectual as Spiritual Leader”.


    Summer 1981

    Conference of Slavic Studies, Hebrew University. Subject: “Agents Provocateurs (Police Agents) and the S.R Movement in Russia during the 19th Century.


    Summer 1981

    Institute for Advanced Studies, weekly debate under the auspices of Professor S. Avineri. Subject: “Radicalism – Secularization and Messianism”.


    Summer 1982

    International Conference on Literature and Politics, Florida. Subject: “Literature and Revolution”.


    Conference on Religious Extremism, Bar Ilan University. Subject: “The Ideological Foundations of the Religious-Secular Schism in Israel.”


    Spring 1988

    Inter-Disciplinary Conference on Victimology, Faculty of Social Science, Bar Ilan University. Subject:”Victimology and Revolutionary – De-legitimation of the Present Reality”.




    Sabbatical year, Lehigh University. Lectured in various forums on “Religion and State – Israel and the World”, “Peace in the Middle East”, “Russian Jewry”.


    July 1995

    Conference on “The Zionist Revolution”, The Israeli Historical Society, Jerusalem. Subject: “Radicalism in Literature”.


    Summer 1995

    International Congress on Jewish Studies, Jerusalem. Subject: “George Steiner and U. Z. Greenberg — Two Reactions to the Holocaust”.


    Summer 1995

    Conference on Zionism, The Institute for Jewish Studies, Hebrew University. Subject: “Jewish Attitudes to Power”.


    August 1995

    Nahum Goldmann Seminar for Jewish Leadership, Memorial Foundation for Jewish Culture, Zvenigorod Russia. Delivered a mini-seminar on “Leadership in Judaism”.


    Summer 1996

    Conference on Judaism and Culture, Departments of Law and Philosophy, Bar Ilan University. Subject: “Political Aspects of Judaism”.


    March 1997

    International Conference on the Modern State and Political Assassination, Yitzchak Rabin Center. Panel member of concluding symposium on the subject “One Year After the Assassination of Rabin — How Have We Been Affected?”.


    April 1997

    Ninth Conference of the Orthodox Forum on “Tolerance, Dissent and Democracy”, Yeshiva University NY. Subject: “Messianism and Politics — Rabbis Kook, Father and Son”.


    Summer 1997

    On the occasion of Elie Wiesel’s visit. Subject: “Israel’s Moral Responsibility to the World”.


    Summer 1997

    On the occasion of bestowing a Doctorate Honororus Clausus to Mr. Vlaclav Havel, Pesident of the Czech Republic. Subject: “The Contemporary Meaning of Jewish Identity”.


    February 2000

    Ankara Conference . Subject: Religion and Politics in Israel.


    February 2002

    “On Jewish Identity”, Conference on “Who is a Jew”, Spinoza Institute.


    May 2002

    “Jewish Nationalism”, International Conference on Jewish Tradition, Bar Ilan.


    December 2004

    “Modern Antisemitism”, guest lecture, Seminar on Jewish Education, ICJW, Jerusalem.


    January 2005

    “Nationalism and Myth – the Zionist Example”, guest lecture, Weizman Institure for Science & Itzchak ben Zvi Institute.


    February 2005

    2 guest lectures on the subject “Pioneering Leadership and its Significance”, The Mandel Institute for Leadership.


    Areas of Academic Interest:

              ·         Zionism and Judaism

              ·         Literature and history

              ·         History of ideas




    Books (author)

    The State and Israel – The Dialectical Dimension in Jewish Politics, (Heb.), Bar Ilan University Press 1991.

    A Split Identity: The Conflict between the Sacred and the Secular in the Jewish World, Bar Ilan University Press Ramat Gan, 2004, 302 pages.


    Books (editor)

    On Spiritual Leadership in Judaism (Heb.), editor, Dvir Tel Aviv, 1983, 309 pp.

    Studies in Zionism and Jewish Law (Dedicated to Z. Werhaftig), Bar Ilan University Press, 2001, editor (together with E. Don Yehiya, head editor, & M. Halamish)





    1.     “The Fundamental Components of the Marxist Heritage – Theory and Praxis”, International Problems (Heb.), vol. XIV, no. 1-2(27), 1975, pp. 6-20.

    2.     “Plekhanov and the First World War – Why ‘Defencism’?”, Slavic and Soviet Series, III, no. 1, 1978, pp. 48-57.

    3.     “Zemlya vs. Volya – From Narodnichestvo to Marxism”, Soviet Studies (Glasgow University), vol. 1 no. 3, 1978, pp. 297-312.

    4.     “Plekhanov’s Duality – an Ideological Representation”, Social Research Review (Heb.), vol. 20, pp. 35-56.

    5.      “Doctor Faustus and the Duality of Existence - the Dialectical Interpretation of Mann”, Criticism and Interpretation (Heb.), vol. 11-12, 1978, pp. 245-58.

    6.      “On Political Messianism and its Parallels with Theology”, Daat, Journal of Jewish Philosophy and Kabbalah (Heb.), no. 2-3, 1978-9, pp. 217-29.

    7.     “The People of Israel and the Kingdom of Heaven – Studies in Jewish Theocracy”, Paper no. 11, Workshop in the Covenant Idea and the Jewish Political Tradition, Bar Ilan University, 1978.

    8.      “On the Covenant Idea”, Paper no. 7, Workshop in the Covenant Idea and the Jewish Political Tradition, Bar Ilan University, 1978.

    9.     “Historical Interpretation and Political Ideology”, (Heb.), Paper no. 25, ibid, June 1985.

    10.    “The Russian Heroine as a Political Metaphor – a Case Study in Literature and Revolution”, Criticism and Interpretation, (Heb.), vol. 24, August 1988, pp. 35-53.

    11.    “Rousseau in the Continuum of Western Thought”, Social Research Review, vol. 21

    12.    “Interpretation Historica e Ideologia Politica”, Dialogo, no. 18, 1987.

    13.    “The Dreamers and the Fighters”, Hatsionut, (Heb.), vol. 15,1990, pp. 249-267.


    14.    “Maimonides and the Political Aspects of Judaism”, Dinei Israel, An Annual of Jewish Law, (Heb.), vol. XVI 1991, pp. 203-228.


    15.    “The Messianic Paradigm — Radicalism and Romanticism in History and Literature” (Heb.), Iyunim — Studies on the Resurgence of Israel, A Research Annual, Ben Gurion Research Center , vol. 7 (1997), pp. 463-486 .


    16.    “Democracy is not a Natural State” (Heb.), Panim, Journal of Culture and Education, 29, Autumn 2004.




    Chapters in Books


    1.     With A. Greilsammer, “Jewish Political Theory”, Handbook of Jewish Theology, eds. P. Mendes-Flohr and A. Cohen, 1986.

    2.      “On Marxism and Judaism”, with A. Greilsammer, The Blackwell Companion to Jewish Culture from the 18th Century to the Present, Oxford Center for Jewish Studies, April 1989. pp. 495-9.

    3.      “Jews and Marxism”, The Blackwell Companion to Jewish Culture from the 18th Century to the Present, Oxford Center for Jewish Studies, April 1989. pp. 492-5.

    4.     Introductory chapter to Spiritual Leadership in Israel, (Heb.), ed. E. Belfer, Dvir 1983, pp. 7-23.

    5.     “The Intellectual as Spiritual Leader”, ibid, pp. 70-77.

    6.     “The Land of Israel and Historical Dialectics in the Thought of Rav Kook: Zionism and Messianism”, Rabbi Abraham Isaac Kook and Jewish Spirituality, L.J. Kaplan and D. Shatz (eds.), NY University Press New York, 1995, pp. 257-275.

    7.      “The Jewish World Between Religion and State — The Two-Dimensioned Principle and the Struggle over the Definition of Self" (Heb.), Yah’dut P’nim vaHutz – Dialog ben Olamot, A. Sagi D. Schwartz & Y. Stern editors, Magnes Jerusalem (2 vols.) 1999, Vol. 1, Section 2, pp. 5-29.

    8.     “BITZPHIYAT HAYESHUAH HASHLEMAH, The Messianic Politics of Rav Avraham Itzchak Kook and Rav Zvi Yehudah Kook”, Tolerance, Dissent and Democracy: Jewish Philosophical, Historical and Halakhic Perspectives, Jason Aronson NJ, Spring 2001, 311-361.

    9.     “Uri Zvi Greenberg — Between Mamlachtiut (Statism) and Messianism” , (Hebrew), Structure and Image — Selected Studies and Critical Essays on the Works of U. Z. Greenberg, ed. H. Weiss, Bar Ilan University Press 2001, pp. 297-325.

    10.    “Secular Zionsim and Messianism”, (Heb.) Researches in Religious Zionism and Jewish Law, Yearbook of Bar-Ilan University, Dept. of Jewish Studies, 28-29’ Bar-Ilan University Press, 2001, pp. 269-295.

    11.    “Baruch Spinoza and the Secularization of Judaism” (Heb.), Religion and State in 2oth. Century Jewish Thought, ed. A. Ravitsky, The Israeli Institute for Democracy (2005).

    12.    “Historical Interpretation and Political Ideology: A Study of the First & Second Temple Periods” (Heb.), Be-darkei Shalom: In Honor of Shalom Rosenberg, Beit Morasha & Magnes Press (2007).

    13.    “Judaism and Democracy – What is the Controversy?”, The Jewishness of Israel, ed. A. Ravitsky & Y. Stern, The Israeli Institute for Democracy (2007).

    Last Updated Date : 08/09/2022