My Friend is a Palestinian Bedouin: IV.Methodology of the Study

My Friend is a Palestinian Bedouin: IV.Methodology of the Study

To some extent, my position is that of a critical case, if we refer to Dutch or West-European culture. Living for 30 years in Israel, I was widely exposed to oriental values and style of living and had the chance to leave at least part of my Dutch values behind. Hardships that I experience in this friendship – after this kind of extended exposure to the Middle East – are likely to be similar to those experienced by many Westerners in their friendships with Bedouins or Palestinians, or even more general with traditional Arabs. Israel knows a mix of cultures, because of the large numbers of immigrants. In Israeli context, my position would not be perceived as deviant from a cultural perspective, but it would be considered extreme from a socio-political perspective. If we look at the characteristics of the friendship itself, we find that friendships between Palestinians and Jews are scarce in the present socio-political context, in which the Israeli-Arab conflict is so tense. Actually, both Bashar and I have experienced substantial pressure to distance ourselves from one another.

Furthermore, though Bashar and I also share common ground my socio-cultural background, liberal values, humanistic worldview and modern lifestyle are in many ways in sharp contrast with his. The contrast between us is expected to be an asset in the exploration of the challenges and opportunities in intercultural friendship. Thus, our friendship is an extreme case of intercultural friendship. At the same time, it could be perceived as a paradigmatic case as well, highlighting many challenges and some substantial opportunities in intercultural friendship between a Palestinian Bedouin man and an Israeli Jewish – or respectively, Dutch – man.


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About the Author

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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