Niva Golan

Israel and the Jewish Diaspora in Britain: The Homeland as a Critical Component in Identity Preservation

Supervisor: Dr Asaf Siniver

Niva Golan's research will examine and answer a set of questions relating to the critical role played by one of the most politically powerful and socially mobilised Diasporic community in Britain. It will explore the uniqueness of the Israeli influence on British Jewry and particularly on its Jewish identity and culture and on the structure and agenda of its leadership. The research will take a broad theoretical and comparative approach, and will highlight the most critical changes that have taken place in British Jewish life, in light of Israeli influence, since the 1980's.

This project gives a sharp and broad framework to the simultaneous, yet reversed changes in critical components in the life of two parts of the same people. Furthermore, it was argued many times that Diasporas exert influence on homelands when the latter are "weak" (in the permeable sense of the word), tilting the balance of power in favour of the former. This dissertation emphasises the reverse process in the balance of power between homelands and Diasporas, showing the need of the Diaspora of a strong and embracing homeland.

The growing field of Diaspora studies that usually draws on the Jewish paradigm will now help understand the evolution of homeland- Diaspora relations among Jews. Even though in the case of Israel (the Jewish state), the state identity and the religious identity are hardly separated (which will also be examined), this research will argue that this case can be drawn from to the research of Diaspora-homeland relations in general. The four components (Religion, culture, leadership agenda, institution building) which are examined in this research are independent variables that, in fact, can be examined in all Diasporas communities.

In a country where Jews are highly respected and take part in the country's official public life, a research of this kind can shed light on the way British Jews perceive themselves in the tension between their homeland (Israel) and the host land (Britain). It will be beneficial to examine the way in how this tension affects the British Jewry role in public life in Britain. Simultaneously, it will also show the way the two countries comprehend and perhaps make use of this tension.


Niva Golan completed her BA in Political Science at Tel-Aviv University (2006, Magna Cum Laude, Dean's list 2006) and her MA in Diplomacy Studies at Tel-Aviv University (2008, Magna Cum Laude). Her field of expertise focuses on Diaspora Politics and International Relations Theory, Thus her MA Thesis explored the dynamics between the Jewish Diaspora in the US and Israel. During that period of time she worked as a Teaching assistant in Core courses; Comparative Politics and Research Methods for Social Science. Niva Golan's professional experience includes three years' work in Israel's Prime Minister's Office as a Policy Analyst. Niva Golan joined the University of Birmingham as a DR student (Winner of DR Elite Scholarship) in 2012.


  • MA, Diplomacy Studies (Tel-Aviv University, 2008, Magna cum Laude)
  • BA, Political Science (Tel-Aviv University, 2006, Magna cum Laude, Dean's list 2006)

Research interests

  • Political Theory 
  • Diaspora Politics 
  • Comparative Politics 
  • IR Theory 
  • Religion Sociology 
  • Policy Making  

Teaching responsibilities

  • POLS 209- British Politics (Second Year Undergraduate)

Professional memberships

  • Political Studies Association

Contact details