The Middle East & Islamic Studies Association of Israel – MEISAI
History of MEISAI: The Middle East & Islamic Studies Association of Israel is an independent, apolitical, non-profit association; which was founded as the Israel Oriental Society more than half a century ago, in the autumn of 1949 in Jerusalem, by professors affiliated with the School of Oriental Studies at the Hebrew University (now named "The Institute of Asian and African Studies"). Among the main founders of the I.O.S. were Professors L. A. Mayer, S. D. Goitein, D. H. Baneth, Dr. H. Z. Hirschberg, Dr. L. Kopf, Mr. Uri Ben-Horin and Dr. J. M. Landau.
The Association's goals: To stimulate interest, to disseminate knowledge, to promote research of the larger Middle East, and to cultivate cultural relations and amity among peoples of these areas. To achieve its goals, the society is engaged in the following actions:
a. Lectures, colloquial, conventions, seminars, annual conferences, etc.;
b. A Hebrew-Language Scientific Journal (Hamizrah He-Hadash, see below) and other scientific publications;
c. Coordination between academic departments and graduate students of Middle East Studies across the country;
d. Cultural contacts with Middle Eastern countries.
Permanent Institutions and Functionaries:
1. General Assembly: Assembled once a year during the annual conference of the association. The association has over 100 registered members. They are entitled to elect and be elected to the institutions of the association at the general assembly.
2. President of the Middle East & Islamic Association of Israel: Prof. Elie Podeh.
3. Executive Manager of the Middle East & Islamic Association of Israel: Ms. Ester Cohen.
4. Executive Committee:
Prof. Elie Podeh, Chair, University of Jerusalem
Dr Mira Tzoreff, Tel Aviv University
Prof. Michael Ebstein, The Hebrew University of Jerusalem
Dr. Yuval Ben-Bassat, University of Haifa
Prof. Muhammad Al-Atawneh, Ben-Gurion University of the Negev
Dr. Noga Efrati, The Open University
Dr. Ronen Itzhak, Western Galilee Academic College
5. Oversight Committee:
Dr. On Barak, Tel Aviv University
Dr. Relli Shechter, Ben-Burion University in the Negev
Hanizrah Hehadash (The New East): Hamizrah Hehadash is the journal of The Middle East & Islamic Studies Association of Israel. Published annually since 1949, it is the leading academic journal in Israel dedicated to Asian, African and Middle Eastern studies. The journal is published in Hebrew, with extensive summaries in English. Some of the volumes are topical, while others are eclectic. The topics of the latest volumes include Jerusalem: Islam, Society and Space; Jewish-Arab relations in Eretz Israel/Palestine; Religion and state in Islam; State and society in the Middle East; Africa: Islam, Christianity and Judaism; Turkey in the 20th century; Syria: past and present; The Arab citizens of Israel towards the 21st century; Islam and the Middle East in the 20th century; The literature of Arabs in Israel; Arab Residents of Jerusalem; and more.
Ruah Mizrahit (East Wind): Initiated by a Hebrew University Graduate Student, Mr. Assaf David, in 2005, Ruah Mizrahit is the electronic journal of the Association. It serves as a forum for discussing contemporary issues and research related questions, and offers reviews of books and movies.
The Annual Conference: The association holds an annual conference, which is convened each year in a different university.
The Baer Forum: The association holds several other colloquia and seminars. The most prominent of these is "The Baer Forum", in memory of Prof. G. Baer, which convenes at Tel Aviv University once a month during the academic year. The forum was initiated by Profs. I. Gershoni and E. Toledano and is currently administered and presided over by Dr. On Barak and Dr. Liat Kozma. Papers presented at the forum, most often work in progress, are circulated in advance and reviewed by two discussants.
The Israeli Academic Center in Cairo: In May 1982, within the framework of the Israel-Egypt cultural accords of February 1982, the Israel Oriental Society and the Israeli Academy of Sciences and Humanities inaugurated the Israeli Academic Center in Cairo, which is currently headed by Dr. S. Shalev. The Center hosts Israeli scholars and students who visit Egypt to give lectures and take part in monthly seminars, to conduct research, and to meet with Egyptian colleagues. Egyptian scholars and students make frequent use of the center's library and facilities.