Israel, like the United States, is a settler society whose establishment was inspired by utopian ideology but was also based on war and violence. Like the United States, Israel is an imperfect democracy, committed to notions of equality yet also divided along class, gender and ethnic lines. In both Israel and the United States law plays a major role in shaping identity, framing political discourse and mediating (and also sometimes exacerbating) social conflicts. In what ways do law and society interact in Israel and how can the Israeli experience illuminate themes common to both jurisdictions? This course will seek to answer these questions by exploring the history of Israeli law. After an introductory section containing a brief overview of Israeli history and a general introduction to legal history, the course will focus on three distinct periods: the late-Ottoman period, the British Mandate and the first two decades after Israeli independence. Law will be used as a prism through which major debates about the history of the Israeli state and Israeli society will be analyzed. Among the topics that will be discussed are legal reforms in the late-Ottoman period, the reception of English law after the British conquest, law and national identity, varieties of legal pluralism, post-independence legal change and continuity, formalism and rights discourse, ethnic conflict and land law, the influence of political ideologies on commercial law, gender, religion and law and the role of courts in shaping historical memory (with special emphasis on the Holocaust). No prior knowledge of the history of Israel or its law is assumed. Grades will be based on class participation and a take-home exam.