My Friend is a Palestinian Bedouin: II. Why Study Intercultural Friendships?

My Friend is a Palestinian Bedouin: II. Why Study Intercultural Friendships?

[The text for this essay is taken from: Weishut, D.J.N. (2012) My friend is a Palestinian Bedouin: Challenges and opportunities in intercultural friendship. Unpublished doctoral dissertation, The Professional School of Psychology, Sacramento, California, USA.]

In this era of heightened tension and polarization between Arab and Western cultures and ideologies, intercultural friendship receives additional significance. Bridging the challenges of intercultural friendship could be a small step toward social justice and a great opportunity for personal growth. Following, I will relate to the relevance and the intent of this study. This will be followed by an overview of this study and a description of the friendship studied.

Jerusalem 2015Relevance

In previous centuries, the average person tended to stay more or less within her or his own environment, surrounded by family. While the family and heterosexual marriage lose their central place in Western society, friendships and alternative forms of intimacy and care become increasingly important (Roseneil & Budgeon, 2004). Moreover, physical and mental borders disappear and instead there is a global tendency for people to move around the world and intermingle with other cultures, either voluntarily or forced, temporarily or permanent, whether for vacation, jobs, marriage, as migrants, or otherwise (Lee, 2008; Samovar et al., 2009; Van Tilburg & Vingerhoets, 2006; Ward et al., 2001). Also within countries, people are increasingly likely to encounter diverse ethnic cultures, and growing numbers of countries need to deal with issues related to multiculturalism (Baum, 2007b; Bizi-Nathaniel et al., 1991). The world is becoming smaller particularly because of internet based communication, which increases intercultural contact (Flache & Macy, 2011).


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Daniel WeishutDaniel J.N. Weishut, born in the Netherlands but living in Jerusalem, is a professional with a diverse background. He holds an MA in Clinical Psychology and an MBA in Integrative Business Administration, both from the Hebrew University in Jerusalem, and a PsyD in Clinical and Organizational Psychology from the Professional School of Psychology (Sacramento). He has about thirty years of experience in consultation and therapy with a wide variety of clients and issues, more than twenty years of practice in group facilitation, and over fifteen years of know-how in governance and management in various organizations.Daniel Weishut offers his services as a "Partner on the Way", while taking a world-view that people are diverse but equal. He works with a variety of clients, but his special interest is in work with those who have found themselves persecuted or otherwise in conflict with their social environment, because of their culture, identity or belief system. For example: migrants, expats, refugees, Holocaust survivors, soldiers, pacifists, and individuals from religious, cultural or sexual minorities. Daniel Weishut is a social activist and in this capacity he volunteers as Chairperson of the Israeli Association of Group Psychotherapy, as Member of the Membership Appeals Committee of Amnesty International and as forensic expert for the Public Committee Against Torture in Israel. He also is involved in raising awareness about the situation of Bedouins around Jerusalem; awareness which led among others to the writing of his dissertation "My friend is a Palestinian Bedouin: Challenges and opportunities in intercultural friendship".

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